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Can I get fired if I file for workers’ comp in Minnesota?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

The law in Minnesota imposes numerous obligations on employers. For example, companies typically need to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage to protect employees from work injuries. Even part-time and seasonal workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Someone hurt on the job could apply for benefits to cover their medical care. They could also receive disability benefits that help replace their lost income if they must take time off to heal. It is quite common for workers who theoretically qualify for benefits to feel anxious about applying for them.

Many workers fear the possibility that they could lose their jobs if they request workers’ compensation benefits. Can businesses fire workers for applying for workers’ compensation benefits?

Retaliatory firings are illegal

Technically, workers should not lose their employment simply because they requested workers’ compensation coverage or notified an employer about an injury at work. Additionally, employers typically have an obligation to try to accommodate those with functional limitations related to medical challenges.

Workers should not fear punishment if they report an injury or request basic accommodations to continue working. Depending on the size of the company and other factors, workers could be at risk of losing their jobs if their conditions are serious enough.

If the company cannot accommodate their limitations without undue hardship or if they cannot continue working because of the severity of their injuries, then their employer may need to terminate them from their position. Extended leaves of absence and unusual functional restrictions might allow an employer to end a working relationship with an employee while they continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

That being said, companies should not fire workers as punishment for claiming benefits or reporting an injury on the job. If a termination was retaliatory in nature, then an employee may have experienced a violation of their rights as a worker.

Those who have support during the workers’ compensation claims process and who understand their rights in the workplace are less likely to face unfair treatment from their employers than those who don’t know their rights. Having assistance when dealing with a job-related health challenge can give workers the leverage and education they need to assert themselves properly.