Many injured construction workers are hesitant to file for workers' compensation because they're understandably afraid of losing their jobs. In theory, workers' compensation protects employees by providing financial aid and ensuring they have time off from work to heal. Unfortunately, Montana's workers' compensation laws do not prevent an employer from terminating an employee while they are out on leave. It's only illegal if the employer fires the worker specifically because they filed for workers' compensation.
At the same time, Montana is the only state that actively requires employers to have a "good cause" when it comes to firing an employee. This means that an employer can only terminate a worker based on valid business reasons.
Montana's workers' compensation laws do provide injured employees with some protections and benefits. For example, if your injuries heal within 2 years, your employer is legally obligated to give you preference over any other job applicant so long as you're applying for a comparable position. However, you must be physically capable of performing the duties of this job to be hired.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can also provide you with some minimal job protection. According to the FMLA, companies with over 50 employees are required to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave for severe injuries and illnesses. If you're eligible for FMLA leave, your employer must give you back your old job or hire you for a similar one.
At Odegaard Miller Law, PPLC, our construction accident attorneys in Montana can investigate your case and help you file a personal injury or workers' compensation claim. In fact, our very own Attorney Paul Odegaard used to be a workers' compensation insurance defense attorney, so he is thoroughly knowledgeable about Montana's workers' compensation laws. If you have any questions about filing for workers' compensation or have concerns about job protection, call our firm today to explore your legal options.
We can litigate on your behalf in court! Contact Odegaard Miller Law, PPLC at (406) 259-2222 to schedule a consultation.