If you’ve been injured on the job and received workers’ compensation benefits, you may be wondering, “Will my workman’s compensation claim affect my future employment?” You’re protected under the law if you’ve been involved in a workers’ comp case, and potential employers cannot hold that against you as a condition of hire.
In fact, Illinois law strictly regulates what employers can and cannot ask you regarding past jobs, and workers’ compensation claims are largely protected.
Laws About Workman’s Compensation
According to the Social Security Administration, each state regulates its own workman’s compensation programs. In Illinois, employees are protected from wrongful termination and retaliation if they file a workers’ compensation case.
Future employers cannot ask you for specific details about your case, your injury, or collecting workers’ comp benefits. These regulations are in place to prevent discrimination in the hiring process.
However, while employers are not legally allowed to ask you about injuries or workers’ comp, they are permitted to ask questions that concern your ability to perform essential job duties. This protects the company from potential problems if it hires you.
For example, if a job requires a significant amount of standing and walking, heavy lifting, or repetitive motions, the employer may ask if you can do that. If you can’t, but say that you can, it protects the company from liability.
Potential employers may also be able to ask you to complete an evaluation by medical professionals to prove that you can perform the job’s essential duties. Although the company can only make this request after they’ve offered you a position, the results may be a condition of hire.
Your Rights After a Workman’s Comp Claim
If you were involved in an accident at work or otherwise injured due to reckless or negligent actions because of another, you have the federal right to file a claim for workers’ compensation. This program is intended to help pay for your medical bills and time missed from work, protecting you during a difficult time.
Because you have the legal right to file a claim for workers’ compensation, employers cannot use the fact that you exercised your right as grounds not to hire you. Or, if you remain with your current job, the company cannot retaliate against you (firing or refusing a raise, promotion, or transfer) for exercising your rights.
If you feel like you haven’t gotten the same opportunities as your coworkers who didn’t file workers’ compensation claims, you may want to consult an Illinois employment lawyer. An attorney can help you understand your rights in the workplace.
Concerned about your employment status after a workers’ compensation claim?
Filing a workman’s compensation claim shouldn’t affect your current or future employment, as long as you can meet the essential functions of the job you’re in or the position you want.
However, if you feel that you haven’t been hired because of a past claim or feel like you aren’t getting the opportunities that others are in your current company, you should call a lawyer to discuss your legal options.
You are entitled to protection under the law and exercising your right to file a workman’s compensation claim is a protected right in Illinois. If you’re struggling with discrimination in the workplace or during the hiring process, you need a skilled advocate by your side to advise you of your legal options.
The law firm of Foote, Mielke, Chavez, & O’Neil can help. We have years of experience helping workers like you, and we will fight for your rights in a court of law. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation about your case.