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Can Employees be Fired While on Workers’ Compensation?

Understanding the difference between being fired because you filed a workers’ compensation claim and being fired while receiving workers’ compensation

New Jersey has always been a leader in promoting legislation for both injured workers and their employers and has had workers’ compensation laws of some form in effect since 1911. Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides injured employees with income replacement and medical benefits when the employee is injured through their employment, while also protecting employers from being sued by injured employees for civil actions, except in cases of intentional acts.

Types of workers’ compensation benefits that are available in New Jersey

When you file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey there are a few different types of benefits you could be eligible for. New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits include:

  • Medical benefits

  • Temporary disability benefits

  • Permanent partial benefits

  • Permanent total benefits

  • Death benefits

Workers’ compensation insurance programs are “no fault” programs which guarantee these benefits to employees regardless of fault. If you have been injured through your employment or if you are a dependent of someone who died because of a workplace accident, you should consult with a New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your rights.

Can an employee be fired because they filed a workers’ compensation claim?

Many employees do not file workers’ compensation claims because of fear they will be retaliated against by their employer and will be fired because they filed a workers’ compensation claim. However, in the state of New Jersey it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim by firing or discriminating against the employee. Because New Jersey is an “at will” employment state, an employer is not required to provide you with any reason for your termination or otherwise negative employment action, and they are unlikely to admit that it is because you have filed a workers’ compensation claim. But there are other ways to show that an employer’s actions were a result of retaliation or discrimination.

I was fired while receiving workers’ compensation benefits; is my employer allowed to do this?

It is important to understand that just because your employer is not allowed to fire you because you filed a workers’ compensation claim does not mean that they are not allowed to fire you while you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. An employer is allowed to fire an employee with an open workers’ compensation claim who is receiving benefits if they are able to show that there is some non-prohibited reason for them firing or laying off the employee other than the employee filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you believe your employer’s actions are discriminatory or in retaliation you should consult with an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney.

If you think you have been fired as retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim or for disability discrimination contact our skilled New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys for a review of the details of your case and your rights

Brady, Brady, & Reilly, LLC has been fighting to protect the rights of injured employees in the state of New Jersey for more than 50 years. If you suspect or believe your employer has wrongfully terminated you, retaliated against you, or discriminated against you because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, or if your employer has denied or is contesting your workers’ compensation claim contact us today to discuss your case. Let the experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys of Brady, Brady, & Reilly LLC advocate for you and protect your employment rights. Call us at 201-997-0030 or contact us online for your confidential and free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.