You’ve been hurt on the job and you’ve filed for workers’ compensation benefits or are actually receiving payments on an approved claim. Can your employer terminate you while you are off the job because of a work-related injury? The answer is “it depends.”
Under New Jersey law, an employer is only prohibited from firing an injured employee if the termination can be shown to be in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim or for testifying at a workers’ compensation proceeding. Because New Jersey is an “at will” employment state, an employer may terminate an employee at any time for any reason, provided the termination is not in violation of a valid employment contract, is not in violation of the law, or is not contrary to public policy.
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated because of a workers’ compensation claim, you can initiate a discrimination complaint through the workers’ compensation system. To be reinstated, or to recover compensation for wrongful discharge, you will have to show, however, that you were able to perform the essential duties of your job.
If you can’t show that your employer fired you because of your participation in a workers’ compensation claim, you may still have legal recourse, if you can show that you are actually disabled. Your employer may have to make reasonable accommodations for you in the workplace and you may potentially have a claim for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA) if you are treated differently because of a disability.
We handle all workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.