Can we terminate employees on workers’ comp?

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in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Q. We have two employees who went out on workers’ compensation leave and never came back. They’re still listed as employees. Can we lay them off? — T.L., Michigan

A. The answer depends on whether the employees are fired because they are on workers’ compensation leave or if they would have been fired even if they were not on leave. States’ laws generally prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who ask for and/or receive workers’ comp benefits.

However, employees who are on workers’ comp leave are not entitled to special treatment. That means an employee can be fired for reasons other than a workers’ comp claim, including layoffs or the employee’s poor performance.

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