Can we terminate an employee for filing a fraudulent workers’ comp claim?
Question: Can an employer terminate an employee for filing a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim? What is the proper procedure to follow?
Response: It is unclear whether the employer has evidence that the employee filed a fraudulent workers’ comp claim or whether fraud is merely suspected. The employer may report any such suspicion to the workers’ comp carrier. If the workers’ comp carrier has determined that there was indeed a fraudulent claim, then it appears that the employer would be within its rights to terminate, particularly if this is in keeping with company policy and practice regarding fraud, honesty, etc. To the extent this is not confirmed, the employer should be cautious not to interfere with an employee’s rights under workers’ compensation laws and to not appear retaliatory to an employee who has exercised his or her right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Finally, terminating an employee who is out on workers’ comp may violate the ADA so the employer should exercise caution before arriving at a discharge decision..