My husband has been dealing with repeated back injuries at his job for the last three years, only recently the doctors have figured out what is wrong. He has to have surgery sometime next month but is in a great deal of pain, some days he can't even go to work. His work policy is that he has to see a doctor everytime his misses work or leaves early even though it is because of his back injury. It came to our attention from a trusted co-worker that the company could still fire him, even though he has a work related injury.
Is this true? If so, are there any legal steps we could take to prevent this?
4 Answers from Attorneys
I suggest you retain an attorney if you have not already.
You should then discuss the specifics with them.
Feel free to contact me.
The best way to prevent this is to formally file a claim because if they fire him with restrictions then we can make sure he gets paid which will prevent them, likely, from firing in the first place. Check out my wc blog at illinoisworkercomplaw.com or call me if you want our help, 800-517-1614.
Should the company fire your husband for exercising his rights under the Workers' Compensation Act you would have a "retaliatory discharge" claim.
In such cases, you are entitled to ask a jury for your compensatory damages (lost wages) as well as punitive damages. All employees are protected from such mistreatment.
However, the best way to protect yourself is to consider hiring an attorney. Your description of "repeated injuries over the last three years" sounds like there could be a lot of excuses for the insurance company to shortchange your husband or deny him the benefits to which he is entitled.
I am pretty sure an attorney would not cost you money - as much as, save you money.
Just a suggestion.
If there is an active workers compensation claim under which your husband is proceeding, he is then a protected class and cannot be fired because of the his injuries. If that may become the case, your husband will need to hire an attorney immediately to make sure that his rights are protected.
You do not say that in fact a WC claim is ongoing. If there is no such claim filed and alive, then absent a contract, your husband may be fired for nay reason other than age, race, creed or physical handicap.