Workers’ compensation is a system that is intended to provide benefits to employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness. These benefits may include medical treatment and partial wage replacement for missed work. However, workers’ compensation does not provide protection for your employment. In most cases, you can still be terminated from your job while receiving workers’ compensation. But there are circumstances in which being fired while on workers’ comp may be against the law in New Jersey. Continue reading to find out what you should do if you’re fired from your job while out on workers’ comp.
Wrongful Termination While on Workers’ Compensation
If you lose your job while you’re on workers’ comp, you should speak to an attorney about your situation to determine if your employer may have wrongfully terminated you. If you have been the victim of a wrongful termination, you may be entitled to relief that includes reinstatement to your job, back pay and benefits, and potentially other compensation.
Retaliation for Filing Workers’ Comp Claims
It is unlawful in New Jersey for an employer to terminate an employee as retaliation for that employee filing a claim for workers’ compensation. Although you can be filed after filing for workers’ compensation benefits if you would have been terminated even if you had not suffered a work-related injury or illness (for example, if you were already under investigation for misconduct or were already being subjected to progressive discipline), there may be evidence that indicates that your employer fired you because you had put in a claim for workers’ comp.
It is also unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee based on their disability or a perceived disability. There are several federal and state statutes that prohibit disability discrimination in the workplace, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. If you’ve suffered a work injury or occupational illness that has left you with a temporary or permanent disability, your employer cannot terminate you based solely on your disability without offering you reasonable accommodations for your disabilities that may allow you to continue performing your job.
What If an Employee on Workers’ Comp Can No Longer Do Their Job?
However, if you can no longer perform your job duties because of a work injury or occupational illness, even with reasonable accommodations, your employer obviously does not have to keep your position open for you when you may never be able to fill it again. Your employer is entitled to have someone capable of performing the duties of the position. In this situation, your employer may choose to offer you an alternative position within the company that you can perform despite any physical limitations you may have.
If you are permanently and totally disabled from performing any kind of work, then workers’ compensation may entitle you to receive long-term benefits for your disability. When you may be facing total and permanent disability, you should strongly consider speaking to a workers’ compensation attorney to help ensure you receive the workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to under New Jersey law.
Contact an Edison Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. represent clients in Perth Amboy, Middletown, Howell, Lakewood, and all across New Jersey. Call (732) 906-1500 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820, and we also have offices in Edison, Brick, Freehold, and Point Pleasant Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.