Many injured workers decide not to file Workers’ Compensation claims out of fear they will be terminated for doing so. It is illegal for an employer to fire a worker because they filed a Workers’ Compensation claim. However, an employer can fire an injured worker while they are receiving benefits if they can prove there are legitimate reasons for a layoff or termination.
Workers’ Compensation Termination and Employment Status
Most workers are “at will” employees, meaning that employees can be fired for any reason, or for no reason at all, with few exceptions. One of those exceptions is retaliation. Employers cannot fire an employee because they filed a Workers’ Compensation claim for a work-related injury or illness. At will employees who believe they were fired for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim should consult a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer to investigate further.
Contract employees have terms in their contracts outlining specific reasons why an employer may terminate their contract. A common stipulation in many employment contracts allows employers to terminate employees who are unable to work for certain periods of time. Contract employees on long-term Workers’ Compensation claims can often be legally terminated in this circumstance.
Workers Returning to Work After an Injury
Employers are required by law to maintain employment for injured workers until they recover or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Maximum medical improvement is a legal term referring to a point where an injured worker’s condition is not likely to improve. Employers are required by law to reasonably accommodate injured workers that can return to work on a restricted basis. Employers unable to provide reasonable accommodations for injured workers who have reached MMI can either provide light duty work or terminate their employment.
Termination During Workers’ Compensation
Employers facing the outright costs or increased insurance prices because of Workers’ Compensation claims may be tempted to terminate injured workers receiving benefits. However, it is illegal for an employer to fire a worker in retaliation for reporting a work injury or pursuing a Workers’ Compensation claim. Workers who are fired while receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits should consider if their termination is an act of retaliation. To prove retaliation, employees need to demonstrate that their termination was directly related to their pursuit of compensation for workplace injuries. An employer firing a worker with an open claim must show extenuating reasons for the termination which are unrelated the Workers’ Compensation case. Every worker injured on the job should be diligent about documenting any evidence related to their workplace accident and related injuries. E-mails, photographs, witness accounts, and medical records are all crucial to a potential lawsuit.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross Protect Injured Workers from Unfair TerminationInjured workers are especially vulnerable to retaliatory termination. Competent Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross know how to prove illegal termination so injured employees can continue to receive the crucial benefits they deserve and hold discriminatory employers liable. Schedule a consultation with a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at 267-589-0090 or contact us online. Jeffrey S. Gross and his team serve clients throughout the greater Philadelphia region.