If you suffer an injury on the job in Connecticut, the Connecticut Workers Compensation Act protects you when you file a workers' compensation claim. However, some employers may try to find ways around these anti-discriminatory laws.
Your employer is not going to tell you they are terminating you because you filed a workers' compensation claim. Most employers know it is illegal. Instead, an employer may try to find other reasons to fire you.
Your type of employment matters
Like most states, Connecticut is an at-will state. Your employer can terminate your working relationship at any time, for any reason, as long as that reason is nondiscriminatory. But retaliatory termination due to a workers' compensation claim falls under the discrimination category. The law protects you in this case.
If you are a contracted worker, your specific agreement could contain a common termination clause. The clause usually stipulates that the employer can terminate you if you are unable to work for a certain length of time. Employers can legally use this provision to fire you if you cannot return within that period.
It is important to note that retaliation is not the only prohibited rationale for termination. Your employer cannot fire you for filing a discrimination claim or for refusing to violate state or federal law as part of your job duties.
Reasonable accommodation hardship
If you can return to work after an injury but have permanent restrictions, you and your employer must discuss reasonable accommodations. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, your employer cannot discriminate against you because you now need a reasonable accommodation.
However, the ADA also states that if providing the required accommodation presents an undue hardship to your employer, the law may not require it. Your employer might try to use this to fire you, unfairly citing undue hardship as the reason for termination.
When an employer retaliates against you for filing for workers' compensation or otherwise tries to discriminate against you, you have protections under state and federal law. Pursuing a wrongful termination or disability discrimination lawsuit under Connecticut General Statute 31-290a gives you the right to obtain compensation for the damages you suffered.
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