Workers’ compensation claims allow workers to recover compensation for medical bills and lost wages incurred due to a workplace injury or illness. In Colorado, the legality of terminating an employee while they are on workers’ compensation is a concern for many injured workers. Under the Colorado workers’ compensation statute, it is illegal to fire an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim for a workplace injury or illness. Workers’ comp does not protect your job from termination for any other lawful reason. This article will explore the regulations surrounding termination and workers’ comp in Colorado, providing valuable insights and information.
Colorado’s At-Will Employment Law
Understanding Colorado’s employment laws is essential to grasp the rights of both employers and employees in termination scenarios. Colorado follows an at-will employment law, granting employers the authority to terminate employees without providing any reason or prior notice. Similarly, employees are not obligated to provide a reason or two weeks’ notice when resigning.
Given Colorado’s at-will employment law, it is within an employer’s rights to terminate an employee while they are collecting workers’ compensation benefits. This is not explicitly prohibited. Employers can dismiss employees for reasons such as poor performance, financial difficulties, company restructuring, or any other lawful justification, even if the employee is on workers’ comp or has filed a claim. However, employers cannot terminate an employee for unlawful reasons, such as a disability. By working with an experienced Denver workers’ compensation attorney for your work comp claim you can gain valuable help protecting your job from unlawful terminations related to your claim or the medical condition.
Legal Obligations for Accommodating Disabilities
When a workplace accident results in a long-term or permanent disability, employers in Colorado have a legal obligation to provide reasonable accommodations. Failing to accommodate an employee’s disability and subsequently terminating them due to it is against the law and may give the employee grounds to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. It is important to note, though, that employers are not obligated to hold an employee’s position during their recovery. If the injury or disability prevents the employee from working for any duration, termination may be justified.
Impact of Termination on Workers’ Comp
If an employee qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits due to a work-related injury, being terminated will not interrupt or affect their payments. The workers’ compensation program is legally required to continue providing benefits, even if the individual’s employment is terminated, until they have fully recovered or reached their point of maximum medical improvement. The point of maximum medical improvement refers to the stage where the treating physician believes that no further recovery is expected. However, there is an exception to this rule if the termination was due to misconduct.
In cases where an injury or illness is discovered after the employee has already been terminated from their job, such as latent injuries resulting from repetitive motion in a previous position, the employee can still file a workers’ compensation claim with their former employer. However, this must be done within Colorado’s two-year statute of limitations. If the claim is accepted, the employee will be compensated at the rate set by their previous employer.
Prohibition of Retaliation for Filing Workers’ Comp
It is crucial to understand that firing an employee as a form of retaliation for reporting an injury or filing a workers’ compensation claim is illegal in Colorado. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse employment action against an employee as a response to their workers’ comp claim. Examples of retaliation include termination, demotion, pay cuts, unfavorable scheduling, harassment, and discrimination. If an employee believes they were terminated due to filing a workers’ comp claim, seeking assistance from an employment lawyer is recommended.
For comprehensive information about the workers’ compensation system in Colorado, individuals can request a free consultation with a Denver workers’ comp attorney at Front Range Injury Attorneys. Their expertise can provide further clarity and guidance on navigating workers’ comp claims and related employment matters.
Seeking Assistance for Workers’ Comp Concerns
If you have questions or concerns regarding workers’ compensation in Colorado, it is advisable to seek professional assistance. Consulting with an experienced workers’ comp attorney can provide you with the necessary guidance and support. They can help you understand your rights, navigate the legal complexities under Colorado’s workers’ comp law, and ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
Front Range Injury Attorneys, based in Denver, offer free consultations to individuals seeking information about the workers’ compensation system in Colorado. Their team of skilled attorneys specializes in workers’ comp cases and can provide the expert advice and representation you need.
While filing a workers’ compensation claim in Colorado does not protect you from termination, understanding the state’s employment laws and your rights is crucial. Colorado follows an at-will employment law, allowing employers to terminate employees for any lawful reason, even if they are on workers’ comp. However, employers cannot retaliate against employees for reporting injuries or filing workers’ comp claims.
If you have been terminated and believe it was in retaliation for your workers’ comp claim, it is essential to consult with an employment lawyer to assess your options. Additionally, seeking assistance from a Denver workers’ comp attorney can ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve and navigate any legal challenges that may arise.