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Firing employee on workers’ comp may be legal

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in Compensation and Benefits,Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

Texas law makes it illegal to fire an employee in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. But that doesn't mean employees are untouchable just because they're out on workers' comp. You can legally discharge injured workers under a reasonable absence-control policy that applies to all employees, regardless of how they were injured or became ill.

Case in point: Martin Ramirez filed for workers' comp after being hurt at work. The company had a no-fault absence policy that mandated termination for any employee who was absent more than 120 days over a one-year period.

When Ramirez's leave extended beyond 120 days, the company fired him. He filed a claim for retaliatory discharge under state workers' comp law.

But the Texas Court of Appeals dismissed the case, saying this was a reasonable absence-control policy applied to all employees, not selectively to employees who were hurt on the job. (Ramirez v. Encore Wire, No. 05-05- 00536, Texas Court of Appeals, 2006)  

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