You should use extreme caution when you return to work after any workers’ compensation injury. Be sure not to give your employer any reason to fire you. Our Raleigh and Fayetteville workers' comp lawyers explain the implications that may develop if an injured worker is fired:
It is possible that if you are terminated, the court will construe the conduct which led to the termination as a constructive refusal to return to work. In that case, you may not be able to resume collection of North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits even if your injury prevents you from returning to your full duties. One example is the case of a lady who returned to light duty work who was fired for alleged gross misconduct after she exposed her buttocks to two female co-employees.
If the employer can show that an employee was legitimately terminated and that a non-disabled employee ordinarily would have been terminated under the same conditions, then the employer has created a rebuttable presumption that the employee’s misconduct constituted a constructive refusal to perform the work provided. Unless the worker can rebut that presumption, workers’ compensation benefits will not be payable. However, the employee can rebut that presumption by showing that the inability to find or hold other employment is due to a work-related disability.