Massachusetts is an at-will employment state. Although you can execute a contract with the company that employs you with specific timelines and obligations, you generally have the right to quit your job at any time for any reason without facing financial repercussions from your employer for resigning.
The same is typically true of your employer. They can terminate your employment for any reason or for no reason at all. At-will employment gives both parties optimal freedom.
Still, your employer cannot wrongfully terminate you or retaliate against you for asserting your basic rights in the workplace. Those rights include the right to request workers’ compensation benefits if you get hurt on the job. Your employer cannot terminate you for filing a benefits claim.
At-will employment is not an excuse for illegal behavior
At-will employment arrangements are sometimes used as a cover for wrongful discharge and retaliatory practices. The Massachusetts courts have established many exceptions to the at-will rules for employment.
Your employer may claim that the discharge has nothing to do with your recent injury, but you may believe that is not the case. If you have not had disciplinary issues in the past, if your job performance has not changed and if other workers were not let go at the same time, a termination of your employment shortly after an injury on the job or filing a claim for workers’ compensation could be a warning sign of unfair retaliatory practices by your employer.
Having support with your workers’ compensation claim can help you get benefits when you need them and can make it easier for you to protect yourself against retaliation by your employer.