Getting hurt on the job could have a ripple effect on your life. You might have to leave work for the day to seek medical treatment. You may even require an extended leave of absence to recover, particularly if you need surgery or physical therapy for your injuries.
The Iowa workers’ compensation insurance program helps protect injured workers from major financial losses because of an injury suffered on the job. Can your employer fire you because you claim benefits?
Employers cannot retaliate against workers who assert their workplace rights
You have certain protected rights under both federal and Iowa state laws. These include the right to a safe and discrimination-free work environment, as well as to assert your rights without fear of retaliation.
An employer should not punish you for filing a benefits claim. They should support you as you seek the compensation you deserve. If you need accommodations to get back to work and your employer is large enough for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to apply, then your employer should offer you reasonable accommodations that allow you to continue working.
They should not fire you for asking for support to get back to the job or for claiming benefits. However, there are situations in which a work injury might still lead to you losing your job.
You may not be able to continue in the same line of employment
If you have a repetitive stress injury from working the same job for years or a traumatic injury that will permanently affect your strength or flexibility, you may not be able to continue doing the same job. If your employer is not large enough to be able to offer alternate job responsibilities or accommodate your condition, they may have no choice but to replace you if you can no longer do the job.
However, many times, businesses have the opportunity to retain a worker even after they suffer injuries that caused permanent limitations. Changing someone’s responsibilities or altering how they perform their job could be ways to help an injured worker continue their employment.
Knowing your rights as someone who needs workers’ compensation benefits can help you protect your job while getting the support you need to recover.