Anything that prevents an Oregon worker from performing their duties can lead to them being fearful about being fired. This is even true if they have suffered an injury that is categorized as compensable, meaning that they can get workers’ compensation because it came about from their work.
Employers cannot simply terminate an employee just because they were injured and cannot do the same job they did before. According to state law, the employer must give the worker a job that is available and suitable to them once they are well enough to do it.
Despite that law, there could be a dispute over several issues between the worker and the employer. If it escalates to where the employer tries to terminate the employee, it is imperative to understand how to be protected.
Understanding employees’ and employers’ rights with re-employment after injury
Both sides have specific rights in these cases. For a worker to be shielded under this law, they must have a certificate from a treating physician or nurse practitioner saying the worker can do certain kinds of jobs.
Even if the worker has an injury and the certificate from a medical professional, the employer also has rights. There is no guarantee of re-employment in another role if the worker is found unable to return to work at any position. If the worker takes part in vocational assistance, they are not guaranteed re-employment.
If the injured worker takes another job from a different employer after they are medically able to do so, the previous employer is not beholden to find them suitable work. If the employer offers the worker a modified job or light duty and the employer refuses it, the employer is not obligated to re-employ them.
Once a worker is released for re-employment and seven days have passed, the employer does not need to provide work unless the worker asks for re-employment in that timeframe. When three years have passed between the time the injury occurred, the employer is not required to re-employ the worker.
Wrongful termination comes in many forms and workers should know their rights
These issues arise frequently and people who are concerned about their employment rights might not think about injuries and re-employment because it does not draw the same amount of attention as other employment-related disputes. Discrimination, harassment, retaliation—all are commonly cited by employees who believe they were wronged.
Not being granted the opportunity for re-employment after a compensable injury is also a problem that could lead to wrongful termination allegations. People need to know when employers can let them go without repercussions and when they can lodge a legal claim. Having advice for these cases can give information and help.