Can You Be Terminated While on Workers’ Comp in Hawaii?

Glenn Honda | | Workers' Compensation

In Hawaii, only under specific circumstances and a heavy burden of proof can an employer fire an injured employee on workers’ comp. Under most circumstances, employers must be willing to make necessary accommodations to hold an employee’s position and accept them back in the company.

If you have questions about being terminated while on workers’ comp in Hawaii, an attorney at Recovery Law Center can address your concerns and help you determine the best course of legal action if necessary.

What Should You Do if Terminated While on Workers’ Comp in Hawaii?

If you believe your employer retaliated against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim after an injury on the job, the first step is to gather all documentation from your injury, including your medical records and orders from your doctor.

Reasons an employer may want to terminate an injured employee

The most common reason an employer tries to terminate an injured employee is to avoid workers’ comp costs. The state requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance and protects employees from being terminated while on workers’ comp. When an accident occurs on the job, the company may face an increase in premiums and other costs. If you suffered a severe injury, it can be a serious financial loss and in your employer’s best interests to release you.

Long-term absence for recovery can also hit the employer’s bottom line hard. They may want to replace even a favorite worker if it means they lose money while the employee recovers. Sometimes finding someone to take on a temporary position during your recovery is more difficult than making a new hire.

When An Employer Has the Right To Terminate

Under Hawaii law, an employer can terminate an injured employee on workers’ compensation as long as they can provide sufficient evidence to support the following:

  • That the injured employee’s prolonged absence caused the company a hardship extreme enough that it was no longer possible to leave the position open
  • That the employer offered the injured employee every possible position meeting the employee’s medical restrictions with no success
  • That the employee could not perform their former job under any circumstance

Proving this can be challenging for the employer. However, if the termination occurred under these standards, the court will likely agree that no discrimination occurred.

How Can You Tell if Your Employer Fired You for Filing a Claim?

The timing is the most obvious sign that someone terminated while on workers’ comp lost their job because they filed a claim. How soon after your accident and workers’ comp claim did your employer terminate your employment? Consider some common signs:

  • The employer’s explanation for your termination does not make sense.
  • Your boss appeared annoyed or angry or tried to talk you out of filing a claim.
  • Your employer provided false evidence to the state agency handling workers’ comp claims, lying about your injury to get them to deny your claim.
  • The manner of your termination is unusual; for example, no one else lost their job.

Did you notice a change in how your employer treated you after the accident or when you returned to work? Did your responsibilities change unnecessarily, or did you receive a demotion without reason? Sometimes the signs are more subtle, but if you feel something was off before your termination, note it to discuss with your attorney.

How Can a Worker File a Complaint to an Authority?

If you suspect your employer terminated you for filing a workers’ comp claim or they failed to offer you another position when you could not perform the same job, you can file a written complaint with the Commissioner of Labor under the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act. Be mindful of the 180-day deadline. You have exactly that much time from your termination date to file the complaint.

How Can a Honolulu Workers’ Comp Attorney Help You?

Having your job status be in danger while on workers’ comp is a frustrating experience, leaving you concerned about how you will generate income. If you have questions about your protections as a worker, our attorney can help. Some ways they will contribute to your claim include:

  • Investigating your termination to determine if the employer can meet the burden of proving your termination was lawful
  • Gathering evidence to support your workers’ comp claim
  • Offering their services on contingency so you do not have to worry about paying attorneys’ fees while facing financial struggle

An attorney offers a professional presence with personal understanding adopted from experience with similar cases. They will walk you through the legal process and ensure no one violates your rights.

Other times to get a workers’ comp attorney in Hawaii

A workers’ compensation claim should be straightforward, and we can offer the resources to remove any obstacles impacting the process. The circumstances where you may need to contact an attorney include:

  • The insurer denied your claim and you need help filing your appeal
  • You are unsure about when to settle your claim
  • You think you lack sufficient evidence to support your claim
  • Your employer disputes your claim
  • You have a high-value claim and suffered severe injuries that will likely result in a disability

Our Hawaii workers’ comp attorney offers free case evaluations so you can ask questions and get answers from a professional. There are no disadvantages to reaching out for help.

Should You Schedule an Appointment With a Hawaii Workers’ Comp Lawyer?

The state laws that govern workers’ compensation clearly state the rights of injured workers and employers. If you have questions about your claim, a workers’ comp attorney will help protect your rights and guide you to the appropriate path for legal action.

Contact Recovery Law Center in Hawaii today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer. We want to uphold your rights to be fairly compensated for your work-related injury.

Glenn T. Honda

For over 29 years, attorney Glenn Honda has helped people injured in accidents throughout Hawaii get the best outcome for their case, whether it’s maximizing their settlement, or balancing costs and risks vs. putting the whole experience behind them. As the founding attorney of the Recovery Law Center, he is passionate about helping his clients with their physical, emotional and financial recovery. Mr. Honda will fight to get you coverage for your medical bills, lost wages, damaged property and other costs related to your accident.

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