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Can You Sue Your Employer If You Are Fired After A Workers’ Compensation Injury

• Mar 5th, 2013

I am asked if I can sue my employer at least once a month by one of my clients or someone calling me for advice. The answer is,”no”, you can not sue your employer.  Georgia is a termination-at-will state.

The “AT WILL” employment doctrine in Georgia means that most employees usually are regarded as employees “at will.”   Workers in Georgia work at the will of the employer and the employer can fire the worker for any reason at any time.  It has been said that the worker can be terminated for “a good reason, a bad reason, or for no reason at all.” You can not sue your employer. 

You Can Be Fired After A Work Injury And You Can Not Sue Your Employer

The “at will” rule allows an employer to terminate employees for almost any reason, including a work injury. In case after case, the Georgia courts continue to say that an employer can fire an employee regardless of the employer’s motives, and that the employee may not challenge the employer’s decision in any way. Georgia is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to protecting the rights of workers.

So, yes you can be fired by your employer after a work injury and you can not sue your employer. Just because you are disabled from work because of a work injury and receiving weekly benefits you are not afforded any special protection from employment termination.  However, in most cases it is not in the employer’s best interest to terminate an injured worker specifically because of a work injury. By doing so the employer is often obligating themselves to paying weekly income benefits until the injured worker finds another job within his or her physical limitations or is released to regular work by the authorized treating physician.


It Is Not In The Employers Best Interest To Fire An Injured Worker

Most employers know or are told by their insurance company that firing an injured worker while the worker is disabled from work due to a work injury is not wise.   It is in the employer’s best interest to try to find a light duty job for the injured worker rather than fire the worker.  The employer wants to limit its exposure for workers’ compensation benefits and firing a worker who is disabled due to a work injury means that they cannot bring the worker back to light duty and suspend the weekly benefits.

If you are fired after a work injury you do not have a right to sue your employer for wrongful termination.  You do have a workers’ compensation claim that will continue despite the termination.  It is important to know the extent of your rights so contacting a worker’s compensation attorney is essential if you have been fired after a work injury.  Especially since suing your employer is not an option.  Feel free to contact Celia Sunne, at Sunne Law with other questions you may have about your claim.


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