I've been injured at work, if I claim compensation can my employer sack me?
If you have suffered an injury at work then you can claim compensation. However, you might be worried about how this will affect your job
Your employer is responsible for keeping the workplace free and safe from harm
. If they have failed to do so and you are injured because of their negligence, then you are well within your rights to make a claim
There is a legal duty on your employer to have insurance that covers workplace accidents
, so you should not be discouraged from making a claim. The money you may win from making a compensation claim will not come from your employers' pockets, but the insurers
If you are dismissed from your job because you claimed compensation then you may be able to take your employer to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal
Unfair dismissal occurs when your employer:
- Does not have a fair reason for dismissing you
- Does not follow the correct procedure when dismissing you
- Dismisses you for an automatically unfair reason
An automatically unfair reason in this instance would be your employer threatening you with redundancy
or dismissing you because you are pursuing an injury claim.
Steps to Take Before a Claim is Made
If you have already returned to work the atmosphere may feel unbearable. Your employer may now be treating you differently
because you have made a claim for compensation.
It is advised that you try and speak to your manager about the situation. If the problem is with your manager you may want to go a level higher
and speak to their manager and explain your situation.
If the problem cannot be resolved this way then you may want to go through your company's grievance procedures
or a mediation service with help from your union, if you have one. A specialist will try to help you and your employer to deal with the situation in a calm way to settle any grievances.
Last Resort Options
If you decide to resign because of the actions of your employer
you may be able to claim for constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal is when your employer does something to fundamentally undermine your employment
which leaves you with little option but to resign. It may be that you are forced out of your job because your employer has failed to keep to their side of your employment contract, eg they are not paying your wages, or you do not agree to changes at work which your employer is imposing without your agreement
Consult a Solicitor
Before you pursue this further, consult your union rep, if you have one. If you are not a union member, a solicitor may be able to advise you
. Constructive dismissal claims can be particularly difficult to prove and employment tribunals have very strict time limits
– so do not delay in seeking advice about a claim.
It is always best to go to a solicitor who is experienced in the employment law field
- if you are a union member you may be referred to one of the union’s solicitors for advice which will be provided free of charge. If you find your own solicitor be sure to ask about the likely costs involved
and again, seek advice early so that you don’t miss the deadline for making a claim.