Most employers in North Carolina have a statutory obligation to carry workers’ compensation coverage on behalf of their employees. As long as a company has three or more employees, it will need to secure workers’ compensation insurance coverage or make arrangements to self-insure.
If you get hurt in a sudden incident on the job or your primary care physician diagnoses you with a condition like carpal tunnel caused by your job, you may want to file a workers’ compensation claim. You could get disability pay and full coverage for your treatment.
Can your employer fire you for asking for benefits?
Filing a claim is a protected activity
Both federal law and North Carolina state statutes protect the right of workers to engage in certain actions, including filing a claim for workers’ compensation and reporting an injury on the job. Taking a leave of absence related to that injury is also often an action for which an employee should not face consequences.
However, in scenarios involving a very small business or a worker with permanent injuries, an employer may not be able to fully accommodate them and may eventually terminate their employment if they are unable to return to work. While companies should do their best to support injured workers who need time off or accommodations to return to the job, they do not have to take steps that would create an undue hardship.
Individual workers may have a hard time distinguishing between appropriate actions by their employer and retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim or disability discrimination. Having experienced legal guidance could help you evaluate whether your employer violated your rights over your workers’ compensation benefits claim.