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  • Rusty Savoie


If your Employer has at least 50 employees working within 75 miles of each other and you worked for them for at least 1,250 hours in the year prior to your work-accident (an average of about 24 hours a week), you will likely qualify for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protection. If FMLA applies, the Employer generally has to keep your job open for 90 days. After that, they can fire you even if you can’t work because of a work-related accident. My clients often cannot believe this. Yes, it’s the law. They can fire you if you cannot return to full-duty within 90 days of your work-accident.

However, often, large employers, such as Walmart, industrial plants, refineries, offshore companies, etc., allow for longer medical leave. This can generally be found in their Employee Manual which you should have gotten when hired or might be available on an online employee portal.

Firing someone because they made a workers’ compensation claim is illegal under state law. Violating a worker’s FMLA rights is illegal under federal law.

If you stop working because of a work-accident, check with HR about health insurance. Your share of the premium was coming out of your paycheck. It will not come out of your workers’ compensation check. Check with HR about how you can keep your health insurance.

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