Can I lose my job?
Alabama has a law against an employer firing an injured employee solely in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim for an on-the-job injury. Many times, after suffering an on-the-job injury, an injured employee is held off of work for an extended period of time. During that time, the injured employee is often unsure about how much work he or she can miss and what his or her employer can do while he or she is being held off work. Other times, an injured employee is returned to work full duty only to discover that their boss says his or her old job is not available anymore. Each situation is different but the important thing to remember is that, under Alabama law, an injured worker is protected against being fired solely in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. One way to help protect yourself when you have been injured at work is to contact an attorney early in the process.
If I have lost my job, should I file for Unemployment Benefits?
If you have lost your job after suffering an on-the-job injury, filing for unemployment benefits may seem like the next step. However, it is extremely important that you understand exactly what you are stating in your application and that you keep up with the process. First, it is important because, generally, Alabama law requires you to be ready, willing, and able to return to work in order to obtain unemployment benefits. Accordingly, you should be very careful and should consider contacting an attorney before filing any application for unemployment benefits after an on-the-job injury, especially if you are seeking disability benefits for the same time period. Second, if you file for unemployment benefits, lose, and do not appeal; Alabama law may keep you from pursuing any claim for retaliatory discharge. Again, one way to help prevent these issues is to contact an attorney as soon as possible after you have suffered an on-the-job injury.
Remember: you have rights if you are hurt on-the-job. Contacting an attorney early is one way to help protect them.