Dismissed After Accident at Work, what are your legal rights?

Laura Broad[1]

Laura Broad

Money Savings Advice Dismissed after accident, what are your legal rights?

If you’ve suffered an accident at work and are thinking about making a claim, you might be worried about repercussions from your employer. After all, you may have heard stories of people being sacked for making claims against their employers.

Dismissed After Accident at Work

If you were dismissed after an accident at work that wasn't your fault, you can claim unfair dismissal and you may be entitled to compensation. If the accident was your fault, you aren't entitled to this claim but you are still entitled to sick pay.

We’re here to tell you that these stories aren’t true.

This guide sets out what your rights as an employee are, looks at fair and unfair reasons for dismissal and answers the question: can you be dismissed after an accident at work?

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Can You Be Sacked for Having an Accident at Work?

The short answer: no, you can’t be sacked simply for having an accident at work. The longer answer is that there is a list of reasons for which an employee can be dismissed, and having an accident at work is not included anywhere on it.

Fair and Legal Reasons for Dismissal

If you’ve worked for your employer for longer than two years, you can only legally be dismissed for one of these five reasons set out in the Employment Rights Act 1998:

  1. You aren’t qualified or capable to do the job
  2. You have committed some form of misconduct and had any relevant warnings
  3. Your job role is being made redundant (e.g. your workplace is closing)
  4. Your employment is breaking some other law (e.g. no right to work)
  5. Another ‘substantial reason’ you can’t be employed (e.g. fixed-term contract ending)

Unfair Reasons for Dismissal

It’s important that employers use a fair and reasonable process to decide when to terminate somebody’s contract. If they don’t, they open themselves up to unfair dismissal claims. Reasons that always count as unfair dismissal if you’re an employee include:

  • Whistleblowing (e.g. reporting criminal conduct or health and safety issues)
  • Choosing to join (or not join) a trade union
  • Taking part in any legal industrial action (that lasts 12 weeks or less)
  • Needing time off for family matters, including parental and adoption leave

This is only a small selection of cases. In any event that an employer does not have a good reason for dismissing someone, or doesn't follow the company's formal dismissal process, then it could count as unfair dismissal - legal action can then be taken against them.

Constructive Dismissal

If your employer has done something which could be classed as a serious breach of contract, you may have the right to resign in response to it and then make a claim against them at an Employment Tribunal. This is called constructive dismissal.

In the context of accidents at work, you might have a case for constructive dismissal if your employer refused to make sure your working environment was safe or didn't give you the training or support you needed to do your job and you felt you had to leave for your safety.

Constructive dismissal is notoriously hard to prove and resigning is a big deal, so make sure you've exhausted all internal procedures for resolving workplace issues before resigning.

Can You Be Dismissed if the Accident Was Your Fault?

If it can be proved that the accident was a result of your own misconduct - say if the Accident was a result of actions that seriously compromised your own health and safety or that of others - then yes, you can be fairly dismissed by your employer.

This does not change your rights to being paid sick pay, statutory or otherwise if you need to take time off work for your injury. It does, however, mean that you'd be extremely unlikely to win a personal injury claim as no third party was to blame for your Accident.

Can You Be Dismissed for Making an Injury at Work Claim?

No, you are well within your rights to make a claim if a workplace injury (that wasn't your fault) has left you out of pocket. Your employer cannot sack you simply for making a claim. Your employer also can't bully or intimidate you into not making a claim. If they do attempt to and you feel you have to resign, you may have a case for constructive dismissal as above.

Can You Keep Working for Your Employer if You Make a Claim?

Yes, you can keep working for your employer. Many people worry about the relationship with their employer becoming frosty after a claim is made. If this is a concern you have, remember that any compensation is not coming out of their pocket - this is what they have business insurance is for.

It's also good practice to handle the situation in a professional manner and make sure that proper accident at work procedures are followed throughout.

What if the Work Injury Leaves You Unable to Work?

This is another case in which you can be dismissed legally after an accident at work. If the work accident left you with injuries which make it difficult or impossible to do your job - for example, a lasting back injury that means you cannot do the physical elements of your job - then your employer should do all they can to still accommodate you.

If the injury is short term, you may be asked to provide notes from your doctor showing which, if any, duties you are ready to return to. Your employer should conduct an occupational health assessment to determine in what capacity you can return to work.

If the injury has left you with long-term injuries or a disability, your employer has to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ as far as is possible to allow you to continue working. This could range from offering part-time or flexible working to installing mobility aids or ramps in the workplace for those with physical impairments.

If these adjustments cannot be made to accommodate you, and your employer can prove it, then they can dismiss you as a last resort. This would be dismissal on the grounds that your disability renders you unable to do your job.

However, your employer cannot legally treat you unfavourably due to level of ability as disability is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. This means if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly, your employer could be guilty of disability discrimination and, you may be able to take legal action.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Personal Injury Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Laura Broad

Laura Broad

Laura is a professional content writer and learning designer, passionate about empowering people through straightforward, jargon-free content. When she's not reading or writing about all things personal finance, you can find her in the gym, barbell in hand.

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