Coronavirus Concerns: Fired for Filing South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim
While understandable that employees are worried about losing their jobs during the coronavirus crisis, employees should know that their jobs are protected if they are injured on the job and need to bring a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina.
Can I Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina?
South Carolina law provides that an employee cannot be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Section 41-1-80 of the South Carolina Code of Laws provides:
“No employer may discharge or demote any employee because the employee has instituted or caused to be instituted, in good faith, any proceeding under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law.”
That means that an employee cannot be fired or their position lowered because they filed a South Carolina workers’ compensation claim.
If an employer fires or demotes an employee for filing a claim, the employer must pay the employee all lost wages and the employer must give the employee his or her job back. The fired or demoted employee has a claim against the employer to collect those wages and get the job back, but the employee must bring the claim within one year of being fired or demoted. The employee has to show that filing a workers’ compensation claim was the reason the employee was fired or demoted, but South Carolina’s courts have found that the fact an employee was fired shortly after filing a claim can be enough to satisfy that requirement.
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
South Carolina workers injured on the job, especially during the uncertain economic times caused by coronavirus (COVID-19), are often worried that if they file a workers’ compensation claim they will be fired. With businesses closed by the coronavirus and unemployment filings at record levels, workers’ concerns about losing their jobs are especially significant.
Healthcare workers and workers at “essential” businesses who contract the coronavirus should not let fear of losing their job prevent them from filing a workers’ compensation claim. If an employer were to fire you or demote you, the employer would be liable for your lost wages and you would be entitled to get your job back.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at The Steinberg Law Firm have decades of experience pursuing workers’ compensation claims for injured employees while protecting their jobs. If you were injured at work, whether from contracting the coronavirus or any other injury, and are afraid to file a workers’ compensation claim, the Steinberg lawyers can ensure you and your job are protected. If you filed a workers’ compensation claim and then were fired or demoted, the Steinberg lawyers can hold your employer accountable for your lost wages and your job. Our lawyers are always available for a free consultation to discuss your situation and your legal options.
Don’t put something as important as your health or your job in the hands of anyone other than those with deep knowledge and extensive experience handling workers’ compensation claims. The South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm have that knowledge and experience to help you every step of the way.