I recently had a client call to inquire why his employer said he had “voluntarily abandoned” his job when he did not quit, but was fired. I can understand his confusion. The term “voluntary abandonment” certainly lends itself to an assumption that it means that someone quit their job. However, in workers’ compensation law, it has a much different meaning.
“Voluntary abandonment” is a creature of case law. It is a defense that employers will use when an injured worker is attempting to collect compensation based on their workplace injuries. Most of the time the separation of employment arises out of a termination, which most would argue is NOT voluntary, at least on the part of the injured worker. Nonetheless, the law allows for a termination to be classified as “voluntary” when it is the result of an act or series of acts that the employee willingly, or voluntarily, undertook in violation of work rules. Employers will take the position that, because the injured worker “voluntarily abandoned” their employment, the injured worker is not entitled to compensation.
This and many other aspects of workers’ compensation can be difficult to navigate without the help of an experienced legal team. The attorneys at Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer stand by reading to assist you through your workers’ compensation claim.