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Can I get Fired for Making a Workers' Compensation Claim in Louisiana?

Posted by Megan Kiefer | Sep 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Typically when you are hurt while you are at work, your claims against your employer is limited to compensation  under the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act.  

What is the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act?

The Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act is the Louisiana law that governs injuries that occur to employees as well as statutory employees that are injured at work.  Put simply, if you are hurt in New Orleans, Metairie or any other place in Louisiana while you are working, under Louisiana law, in most cases, workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy that an employee may assert against his employer or fellow employees for work-related injury, unless he was the victim of an intentional act.  This means that, in most scenarios, you cannot sue your employer for damages like pain and suffering when you are hurt on the job. While you do not have to prove fault against your employer in these cases, your damages and remedies are often limited to indemnity benefits, and medical benefits, as well as out of pocket expenses such as mileage to your doctor's appointments.

We have written about workers' compensation laws and your ability to sue a third party if you are injured at work in these posts:

https://www.kieferandkiefer.com/if-i-am-injured-at-work-can-i-make-a-claim-against-my-employers-uninsured-motorist-insurance

https://www.kieferandkiefer.com/blog/can-my-insurance-company-raise-my-rates-if-i-make-a-claim-in-louisiana

https://www.kieferandkiefer.com/can-i-sue-my-employer-for-an-intentional-act-under-louisiana-law

Can I get Fired in Louisiana for Making a Workers' Compensation Claim?

Typically, Louisiana is an “employment-at-will” state (LA Civ. Code Art. 2747, 2024), which means that generally, an employer (or employee) can terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason unless a law or contract exists to the contrary. A number of Louisiana statutes have established important exceptions to this law, which includes an exception for terminating  an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim.
 

Put simply, the answer is "No!"  You cannot be fired for making a workers' compensation claim. Louisiana law prohibits an employer from firing an employee if they are injured at work and they have filed a workers' compensation claim for benefits. 

§ 23:1361 states:

"No person shall discharge an employee from employment because of said employee having asserted a claim for benefits under the provisions of this Chapter or under the law of any state or of the United States. Nothing in this Chapter shall prohibit an employer from* discharging an employee who because of injury can no longer perform the duties of his employment."

If you were fired because you filed a workers' compensation claim, you may have a wrongful termination claim, which is not limited to the workers' compensation regime.   

An exception to this could be that if you have reached your maximum medical improvement, you may be left with a disability or permanent work restrictions that a doctor opines stops you from returning to the job you were able to do. If your condition makes it impossible to do your job, then your employer may be able to cease your employment if they cannot accommodate your circumstances reasonably (which may entail an analysis regarding whether they are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act).

The Louisiana Workforce Commission is a great resource regarding your rights under workers' compensation.  See: http://www.laworks.net/FAQs/FAQ_WorkComp_RightsAndResponsibilities.asp

About the Author

Megan Kiefer

Megan Kiefer is a partner at Kiefer & Kiefer. She is a trial attorney who specializes in personal injury, insurance defense, and appellate work and who has a proven track record in and out of court. Megan has experience as lead counsel in jury trials, judge trials, and mediations, as well as exte...

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