Losing a job can be difficult, but if your employer didn't give you a reason why, you may be confused about what to do next.
Some may not know this, but Florida is an at-will employment state. This means that, without a written contract, an employee can quit or be fired at any time for any reason and the employer will not be subject to prosecution unless the termination is because of any form of discrimination (e.g. disability, race, gender, etc).
At-Will Employment and Workers’ Compensation
Wearing the wrong color shoes, doing unsatisfactory work, or taking one too many bathroom breaks are reasons that could be justified for the termination of an employee.
What is NOT grounds for termination is a worker filing a workers’ compensation claim. Under Florida Statute 440.205, “no employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any employee by reason of such employee’s valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Law.”
At-Will Employment and Discrimination
It’s important for employees to know when they are being fired for no apparent reason and when they are being fired because they are being discriminated against. The Florida Commission on Human Relations defines discrimination as “the unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice and without regard to individual merit.” This includes racial, age, gender, religion, genetic, and disability discrimination.
Workers might think that if they are fired after filing a workers’ compensation claim that they automatically have a case, but it is a little more complicated than that. The difficulty lies in proving that the wrongful termination was due to the filing of the worker’s compensation claim and not due to the evidence surrounding the accident. For example, if an employee gets hurts on the job because of negligence then the employer would be covered under the employment-at-will doctrine.
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