Your employer cannot fire you or otherwise discriminate against you at your place of employment because you have exercised your rights under the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act. This means that an employer cannot fire you because you have filed a workers’ compensation claim alleging you were injured on the job. However, your employer does not have to keep your job open for you for any mandated period of time. Therefore, if you are injured on the job, and are out for a period of time beyond which the employer is not willing to wait for you to return to work, the employer is free to terminate your employment. (The only exception to this rule of “employment at will“, is when you have a contract with your employer that provides for additional rights.)
If you feel that you have been terminated because you have exercised a right under workers’ compensation, you may bring a claim against your employer for a wrongful termination. This can be done within the context of the workers’ compensation commission, or it may be done at the superior court level. There are pros and cons to each jurisdiction, including the remedies that are available. You should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each forum with your attorney very carefully. In general, these claims are very difficult to prosecute because there is rarely ever direct evidence that the employer fired you as a result of your having filed a workers’ compensation claim. Instead, you must rely on indirect evidence such as the proximity in time between your injury and your termination; how long you worked for the employer (the longer the better); what your work history has been with that employer including job reviews, and the like.
The challenge of prevailing in such a claim is also made more difficult by a current economic downturn which provides a legitimate basis for any employer to let go of any employee.