Can an Employer Fire You for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In New Jersey, if an employee gets injured on the job, they can file a workers’ compensation claim to recover compensation, including medical expenses and lost wages. It is crucial to note that, under NJ workers’ compensation law, determination of fault is not required. If a worker suffers a work-related injury or illness, an employer must compensate them. Additionally, a New Jersey employer’s duty includes coverage for a pre-existing condition that is worsened by a worker’s job duties.
In New Jersey, if an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, they generally cannot bring a personal injury lawsuit against their employer for said injuries. Generally, the state’s workers’ compensation system is designed to protect employees and employers, meaning, an injured or ill employee recovers compensation, while their employer avoids a lawsuit. Unfortunately, some employers do not see the benefit of this compromise. When some employers are faced with workers’ compensation claims, they incorrectly believe that it would be simpler to just fire the claimant.
Can an Employer Fire You for filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
An employer is not allowed to retaliate against an employee who files or tries to file a workers’ compensation claim by firing them. Retaliatory termination is illegal in the state of New Jersey. This applies even in the case of at-will employees. Indeed, in New Jersey, an employer has the right to terminate an at-will employee at any time with or without cause. However, employers are not allowed to fire at-will employees if their reasons for doing so constitute violating state or federal law. Firing an at-will employee because of their filing or trying to file a workers’ compensation claim constitutes retaliatory termination, which is against the law.
It is crucial to note that retaliation can involve many other things apart from termination of employment. Examples of other retaliatory actions that employers are prohibited from engaging in include;
- Denying an employee their benefits
- Reducing an employee’s pay or hours
- Demoting an employee
Retaliation can also happen when an employer interferes or tries to interfere with an injured or ill employee’s right to worker’s compensation. An employer can interfere or attempt to interfere with an employee’s right to workers’ compensation by, for instance, trying to coerce the worker into refraining from filing their claim.
How Can You Know if Your Rights Were Violated?
Because employers know it is against the law to fire employees who file or try to file workers’ compensation claims, many come up with other explanations for terminating injured or ill workers. So, if you were fired after you suffered a work-related injury or illness, but the reason your employer gave for firing you seems vague or false, you may have a claim against them for retaliatory termination.
Contact the Trabosh Law Firm for a Free Case Evaluation
If you believe you were retaliated against for filing or trying to file a workers’ compensation claim, contact the Trabosh Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.