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Can you be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim?

If you are injured on the job, you may be afraid to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover benefits for the injury, fearing that you will lose your job. Although this is understandable, it an unacceptable excuse to not exercise your right to workers’ compensation benefits in North Carolina.

The primary reason for this is that it is illegal in North Carolina for an employer to do this. Specifically, the North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) prohibits an employer from taking any adverse action against an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim.

What is an adverse action?

In addition to firing an employee, an adverse action includes many situations where an employer uses tactics to punish you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This includes demotions, suspensions, docking of pay, withholding vacation time, refusing to schedule you for work, or otherwise changing the your employment situation for the worse.

Although REDA prevents you from adverse actions for filing a workers’ compensation claim, it does not prevent your employer from terminating you if you cannot return to work because of your injury after a certain time.

Since the law is complex in this area, it is important to have the guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you have been injured while working. An attorney can protect your rights and work on your behalf to obtain the best possible outcome.

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