Can an Employer Fire You Under Workmans' Comp in Texas?

Under Texas law, the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation encourages employers to provide employees injured on the job with a return-to-work program. However, under the Texas Labor Code, employers are not required to provide employment after the employee suffers an injury, so an employer can fire you in the Lone Star State if you are receiving workers' compensation.

  1. Workers' Compensation

    • Workers’ compensation provides covered employees with medical benefits and income if suffering from an on-the-job injury or employment-related illness. While some states require all employers, with some exceptions, to provide workers' compensation insurance, Texas does not. Under Texas law, the employer is only required to notify employees whether or not coverage is provided. Employees accepting workers' compensation benefits generally forfeit the right to sue the employer for damages.

    Return-to-Work Program

    • The TDI-DWC considers the "timely return of injured employees" to the workforce as one of its key missions. It states that the longer the injured employee is not working, the harder it is for the person to return to work, and additional time off work raises the employer's workers' compensation and other business expenses. It aids the employer in setting up a return-to-work plan for employees receiving workers' compensation, with either changes to the former job or a temporary work assignment. It states that employers benefit from the employee being able to help the company in some capacity, even if not in the former position.

    Workers' Compensation and Unemployment

    • Under Texas law, those receiving workers' compensation cannot receive unemployment benefits at the same time, with the rare exception of those permanent, partially disabled claimants due to a pre-1989 injury. However, claimants with such disabilities may be ineligible for unemployment if unable to work due to the medical condition, and Texas employers are encouraged to pursue this issue if it arises. Texas passed
      "New Hire Reporting Laws" to prevent fraud by those trying to collect workers' compensation and unemployment benefits.

    Assistance Programs

    • If the employee of a smaller business goes back to work while still recuperating from the injury under the Return to Work program, the employer may receive financial assistance to provide workplace modifications to allow the injured employee to perform work. Employers with between two and 50 employees may apply for the state Return to Work Reimbursement Program. Eligible employers may receive up to $5,000 as of the time of publication to purchase special furniture, equipment or other items that help the injured employee get back on the job.

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