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Alabama Workers Compensation Benefits

Alabama Workers Compensation Benefits Wrongful Termination

Ala.Code §25-5-11.1 states that "[n]o employee shall be terminated by and employer solely because the employee has instituted or maintained any action against the employer to recover workers' compensation benefits under this chapter...."

In Alabama, your employer cannot fire you solely because you have sought workers' compensation benefits. If you believe that you have been terminated  because you sought workers' compensation benefits, then you may have a wrongful termination/retaliatory discharge claim.

In order for an injured worker to establish a prima facie case of wrongful termination claim, the injured employee must show: 1) an employment relationship, 2) an on-the-job injury, 3) knowledge on the part of the employer of the on-the-job injury, and 4) subsequent termination of employment based solely upon the employee's on-the-job injury and the filing of a workers' compensation claim." See Alabama Power Co. v. Aldridge, 854 So.2d 554, 566 (Ala. 2002). Generally points (1) - (3) are easy to show; the case hinges on point (4)-proving that the firing was solely due to the injured employee's workers' compensation claim.

Evidence that the termination was the result of the worker seeking compensation benefits is generally shown through circumstantial evidence, as an employer is not wont to admit that they fired the worker for seeking these benefits. The following factors are considered in considering the real reasons why an injured worker was fired: (1) knowledge of the compensation claim by those making the decision on termination, (2) expression of a negative attitude toward the employee's injured condition, (3) failure to adhere to established company policy, (4) discriminatory treatment in comparison to similarly situated employees, (5) sudden changes in an employee's work performance evaluations following a workers' compensation claim, (6) evidence that the stated reason for the discharge was false and (6) the court will look at the proximity of time between the filing of a workers' compensation claim and the discharge.

If you are settling your workers compensation claim and are still employed by your employer, you have to be careful as to what you are actually agreeing to. The terms "and and all" is typically inserted into the settlement documents, and this clause will prevent you from seeking compensation for a wrongful termination claim if you are later fired.

If you were terminated after suffering an injury at work, or if you are thinking of settling your claim and are unsure about the language in your settlement petition, the experienced Alabama Workers Compensation attorneys at Powell and Denny would be happy to speak with you.

Powell and Denny: We Work When You Can't

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Alabama Workers Compensation Benefits Wrongful Termination

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