Getting Fired and Workers Comp

Getting Fired and Workers Comp

Let’s talk about getting fired and workers comp:  In 2021, the Utah Court of Appeals issued a very important decision about injured workers who are fire or terminated from their jobs.  The case is A1 Pioneer Moving v. Labor Commission.

Court of Appeals

The Case
Utah law states that workers’ comp benefits continue after the worker is terminated from their job. The exception is when a worker “engages in misconduct with the purpose of severing the employment relationship.”  Of course, most workers do not try to get fired.
In this case, the employer paid the employee (Mr. Pulu) temporary total disability (TTD) benefits for a workplace injury.  Mr. Pulu got into a fight at work a few months after his injury and the employer fired him.  The employer felt justified because Mr. Pulu violated their workplace policy.  The employee felt they had the right to cut off his TTD benefits.
The Court of Appeals decided first that Mr. Pulu had not engaged in violent behavior for the purpose of being fired.  Thus, A1 was obligated to pay temporary disability benefits to Mr. Pulu until he gets a new job or his injury reaches maximum medical improvement.
Further, the Court explained that an employer may not cut off workers comp benefits in cases involving violent behavior at work or similar reasons under Utah law.  An employer must file an application for hearing with the Labor Commission.  The Labor Commission has the authority to decide whether benefits should be stopped.
Do Not Quit and Get Free Attorney Consultation
If your employer fires you and cuts off workers’ comp benefits, get competent legal advice immediately!  Termination does not necessarily mean your employer can stop paying out benefits for your injury.
Quitting your job voluntarily is a different story. While benefits may not necessarily be cut off, it is much easier for employers to find justifiable reasons to stop paying benefits after you quit.  The general rule is to never quit your job while pursuing a workers’ comp claim or receiving benefits.  If there is a better job waiting for you or you feel you ought to quit for other reasons, seek legal advice from an experienced attorney before you do so.  We offer advice for these situations free of charge. Just give us a phone call and we will gladly help out however we can!  You can reach Attorney Daniels by calling or texting (435) 592-1235.