Can You Be Fired While on Workers’ Comp in Nevada?

May 15, 2024 Workers' Comp

Workers’ compensation is a crucial safety net for employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses. It provides medical benefits and wage replacement to help workers recover and return to their jobs without facing financial hardship; in cases of permanent disability, these benefits can last for several years. 

However, many injured employees worry about their job security while receiving workers’ comp benefits. Although you may be fired for another reason, your employer generally cannot fire you because you filed a workers’ compensation claim or suffered an injury at work. 

Nevada Is an At-Will Employment State

Nevada follows the at-will employment doctrine. This means that employers can terminate employees at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all, as long as the reason is not illegal or discriminatory. Similarly, employees can quit their jobs at any time without providing a reason or notice.

An Employee Can’t Be Fired for Being Injured or Filing for Workers’ Comp

Although Nevada is an at-will employment state, employers cannot fire an employee solely because they have been injured on the job or have filed a workers’ compensation claim. This would constitute retaliatory termination and is illegal under Nevada law. Employers who engage in this practice may face serious consequences and be required to pay damages to the wrongfully terminated employee.

However, this protection does not mean that an employee cannot be fired after filing a workers’ compensation claim. An at-will employee who has filed a claim can still be terminated for legitimate reasons, such as misconduct, poor performance, or as part of a planned mass layoff. To avoid potential consequences, employers must carefully document the reasons for the termination and ensure that they are not related to the injury or workers’ comp claim.

You Still Have the Right to Recover Workers’ Comp Benefits

Even if your employment is terminated after filing a workers’ compensation claim, you are still entitled to receive benefits from your previous employer. These benefits can continue for the duration of your injury until a physician clears you to return to work. 

Under Nevada law, an insurer may deny workers’ compensation benefits to an employee who was terminated for misconduct. In these cases, the employer’s insurer can waive the employee’s rights to collect certain disability benefits.

NRS 616C.232. Denial of compensation for temporary total disability because of discharge for misconduct.

1.  If an injured employee is discharged from his or her employment as a result of misconduct, an insurer may deny compensation for temporary total disability to the injured employee because of that discharge for misconduct only if the insurer proves by a preponderance of the evidence that:

(a) The injured employee was discharged from his or her employment solely for the employee’s misconduct and not for any reason relating to the employee’s claim for compensation; and

(b) It is the injured employee’s discharge from his or her employment for misconduct, and not the injury, that is the sole cause for the injured employee’s inability to return to work with the preinjury employer.

Protect Your Rights with a Nevada Workers’ Comp Attorney

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated by your employer while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. A Las Vegas workers’ comp attorney can help you protect your rights, investigate your claim, and seek the compensation you deserve. Learn more about your legal options and protect your right to benefits by scheduling a free legal consultation today.