Any injury can cause pain and discomfort. They commonly cause stress and uncertainty, as well. If you are injured while working, the stress is amplified even more. The main worry for many is if you can be fired after an on-the-job injury in Florida. 

However, you cannot be fired because you were involved in a workplace accident. 

While this is true, there are other reasons you may be fired when you return to work. Learn more about these situations and your rights here. You can also work with an Orlando workers’ comp lawyer to better understand your rights and responsibilities regarding workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace accident. 

Injured Worker Protections 

Even if your employer doesn’t have a policy that ensures your position will be safe if you are hurt on the job, it will be protected in most situations while you recover. 

In fact, Florida requires employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. This means you can receive benefits for your work-related injuries, including medical costs, partial recovery or lost wages, ongoing care, and, if the injury is serious enough, disability benefits. 

You may wonder if your employer must hold your job for you until you can return and how long they are required to do this. However, something to understand is that no law requires employers to hold your job for you while you receive workers’ compensation benefits. 

Based on the size of the company you are working for, you may have additional protection under FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). With this, you are legally allowed to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave for each 12-month period, and during this time, it is required that your original job or a comparable position is held by your employers that offer the same benefits and pay while you take this leave. 

However, as mentioned above, this is only required if you and your employer qualify for FMLA. The requirements for this law to apply include:

  • You must work for a private-sector company with a minimum of 50 employees in the past 20 weeks. 
  • You work for a public agency, federal, state, or local government. In these situations, there are no minimum employment requirements. 
  • You work for a secondary or elementary school (no minimum employment requirements). 

Employees who are entitled to take FMLA leave include:

  • You worked for an employer who was covered for a minimum of 12 months.
  • You had worked for a minimum of 1,250 hours during the past 12 months before you took leave. 
  • You work at a location with a minimum of 50 employers within 75 miles. 

Situations You may Be Fired if Injured on the Job

These situations aren’t always black and white. While there are protections in place, they have limitations. For example, if you were involved in a physical altercation or intoxicated when the injury occurred, you will not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. 

Additionally, Florida is an at-will employment state. This means you and your employer have the right to end your employment for any reason, at any time (besides reasons protected by law, such as gender identity, race, age, etc.). 

This means your employer can’t fire you for the injury; however, they can legally fire you for another reason with no warning. 

Many employers have policies regarding when you should return to work on light or modified duty for a certain period. If you exceed this time limit, then you may be fired. If you cannot perform job tasks or the work you did before the injury, you can be terminated. 

Understanding Your Rights to Keep Your Job After a Workplace Accident

If you have experienced a workplace accident, you have rights. However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to keep your job after the injury. Due to the complexities of these cases, it is recommended that you work with an experienced Orlando workers’ comp lawyer to understand your rights fully.