top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn Larrimer

Can I Be Fired for an Injury Outside of Work?

When an injury happens, it can be frustrating and scary for the person because they are going to be thinking about many different phone calls they need to make. One of the most important phone calls for the injured employee is calling their employer. This is because many employees worry that they could be fired from their job if they have been injured outside of work.

However, it is essential to fully understand an employee's rights and what can happen in this situation. This post is going to explain what happens when an employee has sustained an off-the-job injury, job protection, and claims.

Responsibilities for the Injured Employee

Responsibilities for the Injured Employee

After an injury, it is vital to seek medical treatment and proper health care. People need to complete this to look after their health. Afterward, the employee can inform their boss on what has happened and how much time is needed off work. If it is a severe injury, it is recommended to get a second opinion. This helps when requesting time off work from the employer.

Afterward, call the employer and explain to them what's happened. Get a work slip from the physician, so the employee has proof for the employer. This work slip is critical because it will explain to the employer that the employee needs a certain amount of time off.

It is essential to follow these steps because if they are not followed, this could result in the employment being terminated. Make sure to check the employment contract, so the appropriate actions can be taken.

Personal Injury Claim When Injured Outside of Work

When an injury has happened, make sure to speak with an attorney. This is because when an injury has occurred outside of work, there is no guarantee that the employee will keep their job.

After speaking with an attorney, they may be subject to file a personal injury claim depending on the injury and if they are not liable. A personal injury claim can help recover costs because of the injury, lost wages, and medical expenses. This is especially true if the employee has sustained a severe injury.

Overall, contact a law firm in regards to an injury claim. They are in the business of helping those who have been in an accident. Also, a lawyer is going to know what is acceptable in most states when it comes to personal injury claims.

What Is the Likelihood of Being Fired When You Are Injured Outside of Work?

It's important to understand that injuries happen frequently, so when it does happen, people want to know what is going to happen with their job.

The law does not make it easy for injured employees when this does happen. This is because the employee is not going to be covered by worker's compensation when they are injured outside of work. However, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) can be used when the injury occurs outside of work.

First, people may check the employment contract and the details in it. Moreover, they may look for the termination section and see if a section talks about completing work duties. Some contracts have written down that if an employee cannot complete the tasks assigned to them, they can be terminated. If this is found, then it is likely that the injured employee is going to be fired from their job.

However, if there is not a section that mentions this reasoning for termination, then there is a chance the employee can be saved under the ADA. This can be used if the injury produced is a long-term or permanent injury. Once this has been established, it is illegal for the employer to fire the employee. Additionally, if the worker comes back to work, the employer needs to make accommodations.

Overall, it is crucial to see if the employee has a disability under the ADA jurisdiction. This is because the ADA can help explain whether an employee can continue working or if they need to take personal time off.

Workplace Accommodations

A few reasonable accommodations that the employer could give to the employee are:

  • Personal time off work

  • Switching the employee from full-time to part-time

  • Make changes to the workplace environment, so the employee can perform their job

However, some jobs may not be able to make these accommodations. The ADA accommodations rule does not apply to companies that have less than 15 people. Depending on the company's size, the person responsible can determine whether accommodations can be made or not. Larger employers are more likely to have accommodations because they have more employees to complete tasks.

Additionally, if the advice of a lawyer has been sought out, they can also help with lining out appropriate accommodations if necessary.

The ADA & Light Duty

It's essential to understand more about the disabilities act and light duty because this can help employees who have been injured. The term light-duty means that the job duties the employee needs to complete have been temporarily or permanently changed. If a worker has claimed workers' comp, then they may be protected by the ADA, but the worker needs to meet the correct ADA definition. When this has been agreed upon, light-duty may be required.

After determining the disability, the employee may require reasonable accommodation, but this also depends on how the employer has designed their light-duty program. However, some employers do not have light duties already made, which can be fixed by creating those duties for the employee.

Still, under the ADA, employers have to consider job restructuring. This may include relocating, redistributing, altering functions, and more. This is to help the employee who has now fallen under the ADA and is now classified as disabled.

Overall, these legal protections provided by the ADA are there to help those that need them. Also, it is very useful when an employer accommodates an employee who has been injured. In most instances, employers can be very understanding and may wish to help employees.

The Employer Obligations after a Non-workplace Injury

Even though the employee has been injured outside of work, the employer still has responsibilities.

Employers must allow the employee to take time off work to recover from the injury and undergo medical treatment. This situation can result in the employee using their sick leave or vacation days for their time off.

It's vital to check with the boss about how long the recovery period is going to be and whether vacation days will be used to accommodate this time off. It is essential to be aware of how many sick days and vacation days the person has because they do not want to end up having to take unpaid time off for the common cold later in the year.

The Family Medical Leave Act

If the employee has been working at the company for over 12 months and has more than 50 employees, the injured employee can request leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA gives eligible employees the ability to leave their work for up to 12 weeks over a 12-month period.

Once this request has been made, the employer has five business days to provide a statement of eligibility.

The employer must outline the employee's rights and obligations while including the following in their statement:

  • If the worker needs to provide a medical certification from their healthcare provider

  • Whether they have to right to use their paid leave and if they must use their paid leave

  • The employee can claim health benefits and they need to make premium payments

  • The employee's right to return to work after their time off

Once the statement has been finalized through human resources, the employee can finally relax. This is a very important step because the employee and the employer have come to an understanding and an agreement on the situation. Also, this explains how the situation affects both parties.

Plans for Returning to Work

Depending on the employer, there may be a formal return to work plan for the employee that has been injured on the job. Usually, the return-to-work plan does not apply to employees who have been hurt outside of work.

Also, the employer does not need to provide the injured employee alternate work duties if they are recovering from a non-work-related injury.

Moreover, no 100% policy makes it okay for employees to return to work after sustaining an injury. This is because 100% policies violate the ADA. However, these policies only apply to employees categorized as disabled under the ADA.

However, most employers will help employees where they can and provide them with suitable duties. By doing this, productivity is increased, which benefits both the employee and the employer.

Overall, people must be transparent with the employer because they will not help an employee who is lying or trying to cheat their way into time off. By being open, the employer is more likely to accommodate when returning to work - even if the injury was sustained outside of work.

What Happens If You Are Fired from Work?

Most of the time, people can claim unemployment benefits if they are fired after sustaining a non-work-related injury.

Unemployment benefits are given when workers have been laid off. However, there are limitations, one of them being that the person was fired for misconduct.

Examples of Workplace Misconduct

  • Inexcusable absences that have happened regularly

  • Dishonesty or lying at work

  • Violating company policies

  • Putting other employees' safety at risk

  • Insubordination

This means that a non-work-related injury is not a form of misconduct. However, the person must have followed the correct company procedure to claim compensation. People may call work, bring in the right doctor's note, and speak about the absence that is needed.

If the person is still fired from their job, they have grounds to claim unemployment benefits.

What to Do If You Sustained a Work-Related Injury

Work-related injuries can happen at any point, and when they do, it's essential to follow the correct steps.

Workers' compensation coverage is insurance that most employers have. This means that the employer is now wholly responsible for the works compensation insurance, so the money in the employees' paycheck must stay.

When someone has been injured at work, it is essential to file a workers' compensation claim. When the claim has been approved, the employee can recover any lost wages, and all medical expenses are to be covered too.

However, when a person makes a workers' compensation claim, they give up the right to sue the company for negligence.

The Course & Scope Rule of Workers Compensation

The Course & Scope Rule of Workers Compensation

Another part of the worker's compensation benefits falls under the course and scope rule. This represents a few scenarios where the workers' comp claim could cover injury outside of work.

Events Sponsored by the Company

Some companies host employee events like sporting games, parties, picnics, and more. While at the event, if the employee sustains an injury, some states consider this a work-related injury.

Business Travel When Out of Town

This depends on the situation because if the employee has attended a business conference and has received an injury while there, they are more likely to receive workers' compensation. The reason for this is because it is believed that the worker would not have been put in that situation if it was not for work.

Also, it is because workers' compensation coverage does look at business travel as part of company time.

Regular Travel for Work

There are many different situations with these types of injuries. It does not mean that when an employee is undergoing their everyday commute to and from work, they are entitled to workers' compensation if injured. This is because everyone takes this risk to travel to their work, so it does not make logical sense.

However, if an individual needs to travel for their work duties, this could result in a workers' compensation claim. An example is if a plumber is driving a company van and gets into a car accident. This entitles the plumber to file a workers' compensation claim because driving is part of their regular work duties.

Employer-controlled Areas

The employer may control areas outside of the work premises: this includes walkways and parking lots. If the injury happens in one of these areas, the employee is covered by workers' comp and can file a workers' comp claim.

Personal Injury Claim When Injured at Work

If the employee has been injured at work, or perhaps they are being forced back to work after injury, they may want to speak with an attorney. However, it is essential to note that when speaking to an attorney, the person involved in the accident must be transparent and patient with the legal professional.

The employee may choose to speak with an attorney depending on the injury and how it was sustained. When this happens, there is an attorney-client relationship case where the information provided cannot be discussed with the boss.

The victim may seek out a law firm and find the right attorney to work with. Depending on the case and circumstances, the employee may be subject to compensation from the employer. For instance, a lawyer can help you get a typical settlement for a rotator cuff injury sustained at work.

Also, if the employee goes back to work, then reasonable accommodations can be laid out in the personal injury claim that the employer needs to follow. Additionally, the attorney can help set out job duties that the employee can do for their return to work.

Moreover, while the employee has taken time off of their job to recover, the attorney can determine if they can claim medical expenses, loss of income, and undue hardship. Except, this can become tricky if it is a small business because it may not have the money that the employee is looking to receive.


The question: "Can I be fired for an injury outside of work?" cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. It is more complicated than a simple answer because there are many avenues and reasons why someone may or may not be fired. People may take time to research the particular situation after receiving the correct medical assistance.

Also, victims must ensure to check the employment contract because if an employee cannot complete their job duties, the boss may fire them. This is especially worrisome for those who have been injured outside of work. However, if the employee was injured outside of work but was working at a conference, they may make a claim. This is because the employee was technically working.

The technicalities of whether an employee is going to be fired after sustaining an injury are confusing and hard to figure out. It is recommended to seek counsel from Columbus workers compensation attorneys, the ADA, or the FMLA. There are organizations out there to help understand the correct steps to take after receiving an injury at work or outside of work.

Overall, people must make sure to follow all the steps after sustaining an injury, whether it happened outside or during work. This is because it is essential to look after the injury promptly so that there is no long-lasting damage.

15,795 views0 comments
bottom of page