Ocala, FL Wrongful Termination
Because Florida is an at-will employment state, wrongful termination isn’t common. However, there are 10 exceptions to at-will employment resulting in wrongful termination, including firing an employee for making a workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation lawyers in Ocala, FL, with Schatt Hesser Mcgraw have years of experience assisting clients with wrongful termination related to workers’ compensation. Contact our office today to discuss your case.
What Is Retaliatory Discharge?
Retaliatory discharge occurs when an employer fires, or discharges, an employee for reasons unrelated to the employee’s performance at work. An example is firing an employee after the he or she reported unlawful conduct by the employer. Discharging employees is allowed for valid reasons only, such as illegal employee activity or poor work performance. Firing an employee because he or she is seeking workers’ comp benefits isn’t legal.
What If I Was Fired Before Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Though not entirely impossible, it is significantly more difficult to have a workers’ compensation claim approved after termination. Much of the claims’ approval or denial will hinge on specific facts involved in the situation. This is why it’s important to notify your employer of any on-the-job injuries immediately, or at least within the state’s 30-day deadline. If you have questions, a workers’ comp attorney in Ocala, FL, at Schatt Hesser Mcgraw can review your case and assist you in filing a claim.
Can a Person Be Fired While on Workers’ Comp?
Yes. If your employer had been planning to fire you for a performance-related reason, or your discharge was part of company-wide layoffs, it’s legal. At-will employees can be fired for many reasons in Florida. However, if the employee is fired after filing a workers’ comp claim, the Ocala attorneys at Schatt Hesser Mcgraw can assess the situation to look for signs of wrongful termination.
Types Of Employment In Florida
Businesses in Florida generally have two forms of employment, at-will and contracted. Because there are stark differences in how workers’ compensation benefits are applied to each form, it’s important to contact a workers’ comp attorney in Ocala, FL, at Schatt Hesser Mcgraw to gain a better understanding of your situation.
Contracted employees, commonly called independent contractors, differ from at-will employees in several ways. The State of Florida looks at 10 factors outlined in F.S. § 440.02 to determine whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor. Under contracted employment, you aren’t guaranteed the same protections as employees, such as unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits. Nonetheless, the Ocala lawyers at Schatt Hesser Mcgraw can review your employment contract and explain what options you have.
Many states across the nation are at-will employment states, including Florida. This means you or the employer can terminate your employment at any time, without prior notice. However, employers are still bound by state and federal employment laws and cannot fire workers for illegal reasons.
Retaliatory Discharge Requirements in Florida
To claim retaliatory discharge as an employee, you are required to show that you:
- Engaged in a statutorily protected activity;
- Suffered an adverse employment action; and
- The adverse action was in some way related to the protected activity.
Generally, an employee can show the necessary connections between the termination and their protected activity, such as filing for workers’ comp benefits, with direct and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is verbal or written statements that show the employer terminated your employment due to the protected action. This includes conversations, emails, and letters. Circumstantial evidence can refer to suspicious actions by the employer before or after the termination, such as changing the reason for termination weeks after it happened.
Workers’ Comp Attorney in Ocala, FL
If you believe your employment was wrongfully terminated after filing or appealing a workers’ compensation claim, contact a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer at Schatt Hesser Mcgraw immediately. Our attorneys will review your case and explain what recourse is available. Contact us today to discuss your case.