Layoff Status and L&I Claims Including COVID-19 Layoffs to L&I Claimants

Filing an L&I Claim While Laid Off

Work status does not change an employee’s or a former employee’s ability to file a workers’ compensation claim.

You can still be gainfully employed, or laid off, or fired, or  out of work and still file a claim. You can be still working for the same employer or you can move on to a different employer and still file a claim. It makes no difference.

What matters is that you do file the claim, and you file it timely, before the statute of limitations runs. There are some differences between the time limitations for injury and occupational disease filing.

Laid Off With an Open L&I Claim

You can be laid off even while you have an open L&I claim.  An employer can lay you off or fire you for any good reason, or no reason at all.

You cannot be legally laid off or fired:

  • because you filed a L&I claim
  • for any reason found discriminatory to include race, gender, national origin, disability, religion, genetic information, for your age if you are over the age of 40
  • in violation of your contract or bargaining agreement

If you are working with medical restrictions and have not been doing your full duty job when you are laid off, you may be eligible for time loss benefits in your L&I claim.

A lay off should not otherwise affect the time loss or medical treatment aspects of your L&I claim.

Laid Off because of the Corona Virus?

  • if you are not an injured worker you remedy is unemployment benefits.
  • if you are an injured worker with an open claim then the above rules under laid off with an L&I claim still apply

Laid Off vs Fired -It Makes a Difference

A lay off and a firing are related but different concept.

Being fired for cause often implies poor performance or a failure to meet the employers expectations. Being fired for cause affects employment security (unemployment) benefits and L&I time loss benefits.

Being fired for no reason is still a firing. It is legal in Washington except in limited situations such as where the worker has a union or contract protections. Being fired for no reason does not negatively affect employment securities or L&I time loss benefits.

Being laid off is a reduction in work force, usually based on the employer’s business considerations. Being laid off does not in and of itself affect employment security and L&I benefits.

Being fired for an impermissible reason is a problem for the employer. This is discrimination. Discrimination is against the law.

Did You Contract COVID -19 at Work?

COVID-19 and L&I Claims– Information from L&I about COVID-19 claims

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Chris Sharpe

Christopher Sharpe is the go to attorney for injured persons. His law firm is helpful, honest, and knowledgeable about workers' compensation and personal injury law in the State of Washington. Chris has been helping injured Washington State workers for over 40 years. He has built his practice on thoroughly educating, honestly helping, and successfully representing workers throughout Washington State.

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