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How to terminate employees who have been out on workers’ comp

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employee Benefits Program,Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

Terminating an employee who has been out on workers’ compensation leave is a high-stakes process that requires carefully considering many factors. How well you handle it can affect your ongoing workers’ compensation liability—and could also subject you to claims of wrongful discharge or retaliation.

It’s made all the more complex by the fact that your workers’ comp carrier’s goals may conflict with yours.

The carrier generally wants to get the injured employee back to work as soon as possible. That reduces its liability for wage benefits—temporary total or partial disability payments. As the employer, you may not want the worker back at all for a variety of reasons: a history of poor work performance, a tendency to be accident prone (and the corresponding likelihood that there will be another workers’ comp claim) or the fact that the employee may return with work restrictions that compromise your operations.

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Judy September 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

Need to terminate an employee who has been out on workers comp for a long time. He was getting terminated for poor performance/attendence and then he claimed he was injured I YEAR EARLIER and filed a claim. We new he was hurt while on vacation but he now claimed it happened at work (again 1 year earlier). He refused to see our WC doctors but went to his own to request the minor surgery on is knee. He has been out for 5 months so far. (Our safety director just had the same surgery on a Friday and returned to work on Monday). While this employee has been out on WC he has been seeking other employment. We are receiving employement verification and references. Can we easlily terminiate him when he finally returns?

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