Can you fire an employee from your business while they are out on a Workers’ Comp claim? Yes…but be careful and cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s before you do!
You can terminate a workers’ comp claimant as long as they are not protected by any other laws. So before moving forward with the termination you must determine the following:
- Is the claimant protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act?
- Is the claimant covered under the ADA laws?
- Is the claimant being terminated for any other discriminatory reason?
Now, once you’ve covered all those points you still need to assess the consequences of the termination.
Negative Consequences can include the possibility that a Workers’ comp Commissioner might be more sympathetic toward an unemployed claimant and/or the length a claimant is out of work may exceed the norm due to the fact that they don’t have a job to return to.
Conversely, the positive side is you may be able to terminate a poor-performer/problem employee.
Remember, the most important thing is documentation, documentation, documentation! If you are terminating any employee, claimant or otherwise, make sure you have written records of poor performance evaluations and conversations, documents of attendance abuse, etc. And we highly recommend you contact your lawyer prior to issuing that termination!