You Cannot Be Fired For Collecting Workers’ Compensation

Workers in the United States have the right to collect workers’ compensation for injuries sustained in the course of their employment. Although workers have the right to workers’ compensation, that does not stop many employees from fearing retaliation for doing so. Injured workers, in great need of the benefits provided by workers’ compensation, are often concerned that they will be fired or otherwise retaliated against by their employer. This is not helped by the fact that some employers generally do not react positively to workers’ compensation claims, which tend to be costly episodes for the company.

To be sure, an employer whose employee becomes injured on the job loses the use of a trained, performing worker, and often has to train and pay somebody new to perform the employee’s function while they are on leave. Although insurance will cover the costs the injured employee sustains, the employer also faces significant costs and inconvenience such that workers’ compensation claims are “discouraged.” Any worker who believes they are being retaliated against for making a workers’ compensation claim, or who fears retaliation, should speak to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss their legal rights. 

Illegal to Discharge Injured Employees

The state’s workers’ compensation law prohibits terminating employees for collecting workers’ compensation. Under that law, it is illegal for an employer to harass, discharge, refuse to rehire, or discriminate in any way against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the law. All forms of harassment and retaliation against injured workers are prohibited and any retaliatory action can give rise to the right of the injured worker to file a lawsuit against the employer.

It is important to remember that employees who make workers’ compensation claims can still be fired or disciplined if a valid reason is provided. A worker collecting compensation for injuries should not feel immune to consequences for any non-retaliatory negative employment decision.

If You Were Injured on the Job

Many states have a no-fault workers’ compensation system. This means that regardless of whether or not the actions of the employee contributed to the accident giving rise to the claim, the worker has the right to receive compensation and benefits through the workers’ compensation system. This removes any incentive for employers to dispute claims made by employees for workers’ compensation benefits and also makes the process for obtaining benefits more streamlined, rather than if fault were to be considered.

If you have been injured in a workplace accident and would like to make a claim in order to ensure your medical bills are covered, your wages are covered, and you receive any other benefits you may be entitled to, contact a seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer for legal assistance.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, LLP for their insight into how a NY workers compensation lawyer can help.

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