Can an employer fire a injured employee?

Asked on February 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

They cannot fire an employee simply because he or she is injured. But they can fire him or her--
1) For unrelated valid reasons, like documented poor performance, insubordination, violating company policy, etc.--being injured does not prevent termination.
2) As part of a previously scheduled and otherwise proper set of layoffs or restructuring--again, being injured does not prevent termination for other reasons.
3) If the injury causes the employee to miss work without the absences being covered by legal leave (like FMLA leave, if eligible) or the use of paid time off (like sick, etc. days)--being injured does excuse missing work.
4) If even with  some "reasonable accommodation," the employee simply cannot do the job--e.g. if a warehouse picker/packer suffers a back injury and can't lift more than 10lbs, but you can't do the job without being able to lift, say, 30 or more lbs; an employer does not have to retain someone who simply cannot do his/her job.

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