There are many factors to consider when filing a work comp claim in North Carolina. First, is your type of injury covered by NC’s work comp laws? How severe are the injuries, and how do they affect your work? Again, how credible is your worker’s compensation doctor?
No doubt, the questions on your mind are many. However, they may not be as scary as wondering if you’d lose your job after filing the claim. That’s because you understand that many employers dread workers’ compensation. As such, they will do anything they can to frustrate your claim — even if it means firing you.
If you’re worried about your North Carolina employer’s reaction to your work comp claim, this article is for you. You’d learn NC’s legal provisions for wrongful termination of employment. We’d also show you what to do if your employer terminates your employment because of your work comp claim. However, it’d be best to consult a Charlotte workers’ comp attorney for the best-suited personalized advice.
Who Does Workers’Compensation Cover in North Carolina?
The nature of your employment goes a long way in determining how your employer can terminate your employment. There are two types of workers in North Carolina — the at-will workers and the contracted employees. We’d discuss them below:
The At-Will Employees
In North Carolina, the law presumes that employees are employed at the will of their employer. If you’re an at-will employee, it means that your employer doesn’t need to have a good reason to fire you. This class of workers doesn’t have a specific contract of employment, either. So, you can be a hardworking employee and still get fired for many different reasons.
Contracted employees are another category of workers that North Carolina recognizes. These employees have more rights than at-will employees, especially when it comes to termination of employment. They usually have specific clauses in their employment contract that stipulate the conditions for employment termination.
Will I Get Fired After I File an NC Work Comp?
After differentiating the types of NC employees, it’s easy to believe that at-will employees can get fired for any reason. This is especially believable when considering that North Carolina is a “right to work” state. However, North Carolina’s employment laws mandate that such a reason must be legal. These legal reasons include employment retaliation.
So, the simple answer to this question is a big NO; in fact, REDA expressly forbids it. REDA is an acronym for the North Carolina Retaliatory Discharge Act. The Act aims to protect NC workers from losing their jobs due to retaliatory or discriminatory reasons.
These reasons include matters in respect of these protected activities:
- Work-related injuries (Workers Compensation Act)
- Workplace violence prevention
- Wages, salaries, and work hours (Wage and Hour Act)
- Mine health and safety (Mine Safety and Health Act)
- Juvenile justice system
- Domestic violence
- National Guard, etc.
Apart from REDA, other laws that help to protect employees from discriminatory employment termination include:
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
Under ADA, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee because of his or her disability. Therefore, employees with disabilities due to workplace injuries can invoke the provisions of ADA and REDA in wrongful termination claims. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney in North Carolina will have a field day fighting against such termination.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave if a serious injury prevents them from working. Employees can combine this law with REDA to fight wrongful termination where it applies.
What Should I Do After an Unlawful Termination?
Although North Carolina prohibits retaliatory employment termination, some employers still fire their employees for daring to file work comp claims. If you’re such a victimized employee, you can seek redress by doing the following:
File a REDA Complaint
You can get a REDA complaint form from the Employment Discrimination Bureau (REDB) if you have legitimate victimization claims. Complete the form within 180 days of the date of the last retaliatory or discriminatory act and file with REDB.
Hire a Qualified North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney
A lawyer will offer you legal advice and let you in on the best ways to fight retaliatory actions against filing a work comp claim.
Contact a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer ASAP!
You have the right to file a work comp claim if you sustained a work-related injury. If your employee tries terminating your employment for that reason, our Charlotte workers’ comp lawyers are here for you. We’d ensure that you get the compensation you deserve while also enjoying job security at your workplace. Give us a call today.