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What to Do if you are Wrongfully Terminated for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Employees who are injured on the job have the right to file Workers’ Compensation claims to receive compensation for their medical expenses and part of their lost wages while out on disability. Firing an employee simply for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim is illegal and grounds for a wrongful termination claim.

Can you be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

No. You have the right to file a Workers’ Compensation claim if you are hurt while performing your job. If your employer suspects that your claim is fraudulent, they may report this suspicion to the Workers’ Compensation provider – but they may not terminate you for simply filing the claim. If your claim is fraudulent and determined to be so, your employer may terminate your employment because of your dishonesty.

Can you be Fired While Out of Work Due to a Disability?

Although you cannot be fired because of your Workers’ Compensation claim, you can be terminated while you are out of work to recover. If you suspect that your termination was actually due to your claim, rather than the reason presented by your employer, you can work with an employment lawyer to investigate the case and potentially file a retaliation claim.

Legal versus Illegal Terminations

Filing a Workers’ Compensation claim is not the only illegal reason to terminate an employee. Other reasons include the employee’s disability status, the employee’s decision to join or start a union, and the employee’s decision to file a discrimination or retaliation claim. Legal reasons to terminate an employee include:

  • Layoffs due to low profits or restructuring;
  • Poor performance by the employee;
  • The employee’s illegal or unethical acts;
  • In the case of a contracted employee, failure of the employee to perform according to the contract’s requirements.

It is also legal for an employer to terminate an employee who, after reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI) cannot perform his or her job without accommodations that place an undue financial or safety burden on the company or its other employees. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to make it possible for disabled employees to continue to perform their jobs. Discuss your physical limits that will require work restrictions with your doctor before you return to work. Include your employer in this conversation – if there is no way you can return to the job you held before, you might need to look for new employment or file a claim for permanent disability compensation.

Work with an Experienced New York Wrongful Termination Attorney

If you lost your job because you filed a legitimate Workers’ Compensation claim, contact our team of New York employment attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. to set up your initial consultation in our office. During your consultation, we will go over the details of your case to determine if the termination was an illegal one and if so, how you can recover compensation for the damages you suffered as a result.

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