Can I be Fired for Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim In Minnesota?

Can I be Fired for Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

You might think lawyers generally don’t give straightforward answers, but this question is easy, and the answer is “no!” In Minnesota, your employer can’t fire you because you made (or said you want to make) a workers’ compensation claim. If they do, you can sue them. The only real exception to this is if your claim was false; in that case, your employer could fire you for dishonesty even though the dishonesty was in relation to a workers’ compensation claim.

That was the easy part. The hard part, in a case where an employee is fired for making a claim, is proving that that’s the reason why the employee was fired. This can be hard to do, especially in situations where the employer can offer a legitimate-sounding other reason for firing the employee.

One case where an employee successfully showed that he was fired because he was going to make a work comp claim involved a worker who was injured at work while stacking some bags atop a pallet. The employee’s plant manager was apparently displeased on hearing of the injury and first tried to get the employee to claim for the injury under his health care coverage, then told the employee that he would have to meet with the company owner to discuss his proposed workers’ compensation claim. The company owner told the employee how the company needed to control workers’ compensation costs. After the employee said he had been hurt on the job, he was immediately fired.

On the other end of the spectrum, plenty of claims fail because the court finds that there wasn’t enough proof that the employee was fired specifically because they made a workers’ compensation claim. In one case, a nurse who had previously made a workers’ compensation claim based on a neck injury was fired by the hospital she worked for. The hospital produced evidence that a nurse working in that type of position was required to be able to lift 25 pounds, which the nurse in this case couldn’t do. Further, all of the employer’s documentation, including internal notes and emails, indicated that the nurse had been fired not because of her workers’ compensation claim but because she simply couldn’t do the functions of her job.

What can you do if you think you’ve been fired because you made, or talked about making, a workers’ compensation claim? Write down everything your employer has said to you about why you were fired and when the employer said it. Work with your lawyer to think of any supporting documentation you could present to show that your termination was connected to your workers’ compensation claim, such as emails, any conversations you heard regarding your claim, and your employer’s typical attitude to workers’ compensation claims.

 

Christopher Rosengren 
Rosengren, Kohlmeyer & Hagen Law Office Chtd.
rokolaw.com

 

Workers' Compensation