Victims of workplace accidents may be reluctant to file a workers’ compensation claim for fear of discriminatory treatment or even termination. While the short answer is no, you cannot be fired for filing any type of claim against your employer, there are a litany of complicating factors which are worth considering.
Today, our employee rights attorneys will be discussing discrimination in the workplace, what happens when you are hurt and cannot return to work, and the laws which protect both employees and employers.
If you have been injured on the job and are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, call our office today for a free and confidential consultation with a member of our qualified legal staff.
Employee Discrimination after Filing Workers’ Comp Claim in Mercery County, NJ
Employees who have filed a workers’ compensation claim or any other claim against their employer may not be discriminated against as per New Jersey state law. This is considered a form of discrimination known as “retaliation discrimination”. This is in many ways similar to federal laws which protect employees from discrimination if they have filed harassment or other discrimination law suits against their employers.
However, just because you have filed or are planning on filing a workers’ compensation claim does not necessarily mean you are immune from being terminated. This becomes a grey area where employers will never admit to firing an employee because of filing for workers’ compensation even when that might in fact be the reason.
Consider this example: a young woman is hired by a construction company. After six months of employment, she suffers a construction related work injury. Her injury requires a few weeks off and some major medical expenses. She successfully files a workers’ compensation claim. She is fired before she is physically able to return to work because her employer claims her work was subpar. This is extremely suspicious, and situations like this do arise. In this case, the employee may have a strong wrongful termination claim against her employer.
Princeton Workers’ Rights Attorneys Discuss Keeping Your Job
Generally speaking, employers are not legally required to keep your job open if you are injured and unable to work indefinitely. However, the Federal and Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees to take as many as 12 weeks of medical leave per year without suffering negative consequences including termination. Similar to what was discussed above, if an employer fires, demotes, or otherwise punishes an employee for exercising their rights for time off, that is considered discrimination and grounds for a civil law suit.
Many individuals who are injured on the job find themselves with disabilities. For disabled workers returning to work, as per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is unlawful for job applicants or employees to be treated differently for requesting reasonable accommodation for a disability. In other words, if you are able to perform your job but require accommodations for a disability, your employer may not terminate or otherwise punish you for this request. It is worth noting that “reasonable requests” are based on the accommodation needed, the size of the company, the resources of the company, and more.
Contact our Hamilton Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today
At The Law Offices of Cohen & Riechelson, our workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive experience dealing with the legal nuances of workplace discrimination when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. Our firm represents clients who have been injured on the job, and will seek full and fair compensation through workers’ compensation and/or personal injury claims as we have done for decades in local New Jersey towns including Trenton, Lawrence, Princeton, New Brunswick, Hamilton, Pennington, and the greater Mercer County region.
Contact us online or by calling our Hamilton offices at (609) 528-2596 today for a free and confidential consultation with one of our workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys regarding your work-related accidents and your available options moving forward.