Fired After Being Hurt at Work

New Jersey Attorneys Representing Victims of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

When people suffer injuries at work, they often not only worry about healing physically but also are concerned about whether they will be terminated for getting hurt or for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Injured workers are provided ample protection under the law, however, and cannot be fired in retaliation for reporting an injury. If you were fired after being hurt at work, you should meet with a skillful attorney to discuss the measures that you can take to protect your rights. The New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall possess the resources and experience needed to assist you in working to protect your income and benefits.

Prohibitions Against Terminating an Employee Based on an Injury

While the laws regarding when and why a New Jersey employer can terminate an employee are relatively straightforward, proving that an employer violated a law can be complicated. In most cases, New Jersey employees have an at-will employment relationship with their employers. In other words, absent an employment contract, most employers can terminate any employee at any time, with or without cause, as long as they are not terminating the employee for a prohibited reason. However, terminating an employee for claiming or attempting to claim workers’ compensation benefits is expressly prohibited by New Jersey’s workers’ compensation law. This does not mean that an employee who filed a workers’ compensation claim cannot be fired after being hurt at work, however. It merely means that it is unlawful for the employee’s claim to be the reason why he or she was fired. The law also prohibits employers from terminating employees for testifying in workers’ compensation claims.

An employee who believes that he or she was terminated for filing a workers’ compensation claim can file a discrimination complaint with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation. Often, it can be difficult for an employee to establish that his or her termination related to a workers’ compensation matter, rather than some non-discriminatory reason. Generally, circumstantial evidence regarding the timing of the claim and termination, potentially in addition to comments regarding the employee’s injury, will be used to support the employee’s claim. An employee who can establish that he or she was fired as retaliation for seeking benefits or testifying at a workers’ compensation hearing will be entitled to any lost wages suffered due to the termination and may be restored to his or her prior position.

Prohibitions Against Terminating an Employee Due to a Disability

Employees who are rendered disabled due to a work-related injury and are subsequently terminated due to the disability are protected by the law as well. State and federal laws prohibit employers from terminating employees with a disability based on the disability. As with a workers’ compensation discrimination claim, an employee seeking compensation in a disability discrimination lawsuit must first set forth evidence that he or she was terminated due to a disability. The burden then shifts to the employer, which must demonstrate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for terminating the employee to defeat the employee’s claim. If the employer meets this burden, the employee and their attorney must establish that the employer’s reason for terminating the employee was a mere pretext and that the employer’s actual reason was discriminatory.

Contact a Trusted Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

People who are injured at work should be able to focus on getting well without worrying that they may lose their jobs because they got hurt. If you were fired after being hurt at work, our attorneys can counsel you on strategies for protecting your interests and help you pursue remedies. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall regularly assists people in workers’ compensation claims throughout New Jersey, including in Atlantic, Bergen, Passaic, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Somerset, and Union Counties. We can be reached via our form online or at (800) 999-0897 to schedule a meeting.