Filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits is your right as an employee. Your employer must make the workplace safe, and you may be entitled to workers’ compensation if you are injured at work.
Workers’ compensation payouts are there to provide medical and wage benefits. These benefits help keep you financially stable while you take time off work to recover from your injuries.
But you may still worry about job security. While you are taking time off to heal, your job is open. A common question we get from injured employees is, Does my employer have to hold my job while I’m on workers’ comp?
Minnesota workers’ compensation law does not require your employer to keep your job open for you if you can’t work because of your injury. However, your employer cannot fire you if you are still able to do your job, and they cannot fire you in retaliation for filing workers’ comp.
Additionally, federal law may require your employer to hold your job for up to 12 weeks while you recover from an injury.
A Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer can investigate your case and help you understand whether the law requires your employer to protect your job.
Do Workers’ Compensation Rules Require Your Employer to Hold Your Job While You Recover?
No. Minnesota workers’ compensation rules do not require your employer to hold your job.
In many cases, employers leave jobs open for injured employees. They want to use resources wisely. Hiring and training someone new costs time and money.
If your employer knows you will be back soon, it may be more beneficial for them to hold your job until you return.
But there are circumstances where it may be more practical for an employer to hire someone new. Your recovery and rehabilitation may take time, and your employer may not want to wait for you to return.
However, there are other laws that may protect you if your employer fires you after you file a workers’ compensation claim.
When Is Termination Unlawful?
Despite the absence of an obligation for your employer to hold your job while you are on workers’ compensation, there are Minnesota workers’ compensation rules and federal laws that prohibit termination.
A Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney will be able to investigate your situation and check the legality of the termination.
Remember, it is your right as an employee to file a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer cannot end your employment because you filed a workers’ compensation claim.
This is retaliatory discharge, and it is illegal. Violation of this rule can leave the employer open to civil liability.
You Are Still Able to Work
An employer also cannot refuse to continue your employment if you can still perform your job responsibilities. If they do, they can be civilly liable.
However, know that an employer can refuse to continue your employment if they have “reasonable cause.” Thus, an employer can fire a contract employee based on their employment contract or for failure to perform their duties.
For example, suppose an employee has a history of poor performance. This is a reasonable cause for termination. Being on workers’ compensation does not prohibit termination based on performance concerns.
As another example, there may be layoffs. As long as a layoff doesn’t violate an employment contract, this can be a reasonable cause for termination.
You must be careful, though. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a wrongful termination and a lawful termination for cause.
For poor performance, there should be records of the poor performance that pre-date your work accident. If you’re laid off, it’s unlikely you’ll be the only employee let go.
If the “good cause” claimed by your employer feels suspicious, talk to an attorney.
You Qualify for FMLA Leave
Lastly, if you are unable to work due to your injury, you may be able to apply for protected leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The FMLA requires many employers to grant employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year while they recover from a work injury.
After you recover from the work injury, you are entitled to return to your same job or an equivalent one. An attorney can help you determine whether you qualify for FMLA leave.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Workers’ Compensation 90-Day Rule?
You cannot receive workers’ compensation forever. Under Minnesota law, some wage-loss benefits stop 90 days after you recover or have healed as much as you are expected to.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Independent Contractors?
No. Independent contractors are generally not covered by Minnesota workers’ compensation laws.
Arechigo & Stokka Can Help
Never try to handle a workers’ compensation claim alone. Workers’ compensation law is complicated. Joshua R. Stokka can help you navigate the complexities with ease.
He has over 10 years of workers’ compensation experience. He is easily approachable and reachable 24/7.
Joshua personally handles every aspect of each workers’ compensation case. From your first conversation to the case resolution or trial, he will stand by your side until the end.
Contact Arechigo & Stokka for a free and confidential initial consultation.
You might also be interested in:
- Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Guide
- What Is the Waiting Period for Workers’ Compensation in Minnesota?
- What Does TPD Mean in Workers’ Comp in MN?
- What Is Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Minnesota?
- Minnesota Occupational Diseases and Workers’ Compensation: What You Should Know
- Minnesota Workers’ Compensation for Hearing and Vision Loss
Josh has been representing injured workers for over 10 years. Josh was born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, and attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology. Mr. Stokka alson received his law degree from the Hamline University School of Law. During law school, Josh clerked at a Minnesota law firm specializing in personal injury and workers’ compensation. Prior to practicing in the area of workers’ compensation, Josh clerked for a judge in the 7th Judicial District in Minnesota. This valuable experience gave him insight into how judges think, do their jobs behind the scene, and how to frame a case in order to obtain a favorable result. Now, he focuses 100% of his practice on defending injured workers in Minnesota.