Can You Be Laid Off While on Workers’ Comp in Illinois?

Can You Be Laid Off While on Workers’ Comp in Illinois?

It can be incredibly stressful to miss work when dealing with a painful injury. Workers’ compensation benefits provide critical relief to injured workers during financial and emotional stress. However, workers receiving compensation aren’t immune to potential layoffs. It’s scary to consider further economic instability and how uncertain the future may appear.

Understanding the details of Illinois’s workers’ comp benefits can help ease these feelings and make you feel more confident while recovering.

Workers’ Compensation in Illinois

Workers’ compensation benefits help workers while they recover from work-related injuries or illnesses. Illinois employers with one or more employees must provide workers’ comp benefits for their employees. In Illinois, employees who were injured in the course of their work are entitled to benefits regardless of who caused the accident.

The wage replacement benefits you can receive through workers’ compensation insurance in Illinois include:

  • Temporary total disability benefits
  • Temporary partial disability benefits
  • Permanent total disability benefits

Workers’ comp benefits protect a worker’s finances post-injury by offering a vital safety net during an unstable time, but it doesn’t protect their job security or status.

Can You Be Laid Off While on Workers’ Comp in Illinois?

You can lose your job while on workers’ compensation, but firing an employee specifically for filing for and receiving workers’ compensation benefits is unlawful. According to Illinois law, it’s illegal for an employer to harass, terminate, or refuse to rehire an employee because they’re seeking or receiving workers’ comp benefits.

Additionally, your employer does not have to keep your job open while you’re out, meaning you might not have a job to return to, even when you can.

Navigating Employment Termination While on Workers’ Comp

It’s challenging to prove that your job loss is due to your workers’ compensation claim, even if the two events followed each other. Illinois’s ‘at-will’ employment law allows employers to terminate an employee for any legal reason without cause. This law means you can lose your job for any legal reason, including:

  • Downsizing – Job loss due to a company reducing its workforce because of cost concerns can occur, and employees on workers’ comp aren’t exempt from this possibility.
  • Non-Discriminatory Reasons – Termination related to job performance, potential misconduct, failure to comply with return-to-work plans, or violation of company policies can be lawful.
  • Injury Impact—If your injury hinders your ability to perform job-related tasks and duties, you could lose your job. Still, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must offer reasonable accommodations for disabled workers to assist them in performing their jobs.

If you lose your job while on workers’ comp, you’ll still receive benefits until you’re cleared to return to work. Once you can work again, your employer’s workers’ comp insurer will likely terminate your weekly benefits.

Contact an Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Illinois

You need a skilled employment attorney if you think your recent job loss is related to receiving workers’ comp benefits. The lawyers at Galanti, Patti, & Winterscheidt, P.C., serve injured workers across East Alton and are happy to hear your story. Contact us today for your free consultation.