Although an employer is unable to retaliate against an employee, whether by firing or disciplining, for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, this does not insure job protection. In certain cases where one’s workers’ compensation doctor has restricted them because of a pre-work injury, many times will employers will fire injured employees due to their own inability to cater to an employee’s work restrictions. The smaller the employer the more likely this is true. For larger corporations such as Walmart, McDonalds, and Amazon it is easier for lighter working positions to be available to injured employees.
As an injured worker who has been fired, some may think to seek unemployment benefits with the Virginia Employment Commission. As a rule of thumb, it is not recommended to seek unemployment benefits while pursuing a Workers’ Compensation claim. Though having very many risks that could affect one’s Workers’ Compensation claim, there are some reasons to file for unemployment benefits.
Firstly, if one is approved for unemployment benefits the ability to receive a temporary income while waiting for one’s compensation hearing. This will provide financial assistance for those of whom are trying to get temporary total disability payments. Secondly, is when one has been released by their physician to return to light duty work and is not currently getting wage loss benefits, then they must conduct a job search in order to collect Workers’ Compensation payments. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has guidelines one should follow when looking for light duty work. Among these guidelines, it is recommended that one registers with Virginia Employment Commission in order to provide evidence into one’s good faith job search. Thirdly, is if one is released to light duty work and can certify that they are able to work in a position in which lighter exertion is needed following an injury and the Virginia Employment Commission will provide job search assistance. When one registers with the Virginia Employment Commission, they will have access to vocational experts and various other job search resources that will aid in the finding of a job.
For those of whom are interested in the effect of Workers’ Compensation on their unemployment, the two systems are different but are interconnected. A claim for unemployment will be denied by the Virginia Employment Commission if one’s doctor has deemed them disabled from all work. In order to receive unemployment benefits in Virginia, one has to be certifiably ready, able, and willing to work. Additionally, if one’s treating physician has given them light duty work restrictions and an insurance company is disputing a claim to workers’ compensation benefits, one may be allotted unemployment aid. Finally, if one was working in a light duty position but was then laid off or fired due to the employer’s inability to fit to the light work restrictions, then unemployment can be sought.
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Contact us today to schedule your first consultation. At this appointment, we will discuss your specific case and the hurdles we must overcome to get you your benefits. We will navigate the process for you, making it easy to understand. Contact us today!