While federal law prohibits the firing of an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim, it does not require the employer to hold a position open for an employee who is out on workers’ compensation. In addition, the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only provides job protection for 12 weeks, after which an employee may be terminated. However, Rhode Island offers job protection for a limited period of time after an injury.
Job Protection for Employees Who Are Injured on the Job
Most employees who are hurt on the job are able to return to work after their injuries have healed, but state law determines if the employer is required to take an injured employee back. Employees in Rhode Island have more control than most over their options when returning to work, including:
- Reinstatement. Rhode Island workers have the right to be reinstated to their previous jobs within one year from the date of a work-related injury. Employers are obligated to restore or rehire an employee even if someone else has filled the position while the injured employee was unable to work.
- Accommodations. If a work-related injury has caused permanent or significant impairment, the employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Accommodations may include specialized equipment, part-time work, or transitioning the employee to another job.
- Unemployment. Rhode Island allows employees to collect unemployment benefits if an employer terminates or refuses to reinstate an employee at the end of his workers’ comp leave. However, employees will typically not be able to collect the full amount of workers’ compensation along with unemployment benefits.
If your workers’ compensation claim was denied, the legal team at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can answer your questions at no cost to you. Simply fill out the easy online contact form on this page, or call us to set up a consultation with our work injury attorneys.