When a new client comes to my office, sometimes they are concerned about whether or not they can be fired for filing a New Jersey workers' compensation claim. First I would like to say that it is a shame that this is a concern that an injured worker has at a time when they need medical care, when they are unable to work and concerned with how they are going to support themselves and their family. You should have to worry about your job security. I understand why people ask these question though because we live in the real world and these are legitimate concerns that people have. I would like to make it clear that it is against the law to fire or discriminate against an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim in New Jersey. There are not only civil penalties for the employer which means money damages that they can be assessed if they were to do something like this, but there are also criminal penalties for firing an employee for filing a New Jersey workers' compensation claim.
Once again, we live in the real world. Do these types of things happen? Sometimes they do. What I want you to know is that they happen much less frequently than people think they do. I've been practicing workers' compensation law since 1992 and I can count on less than one hand the number of times I've had a client fired for filing a workers' compensation claim. Truthfully, I think the answer is two, maybe three in my entire time. I'm not exactly certain but I know it's a very small number.
So what happens if you were to be fired? There are a few things you can do. You can file a complaint with the EEOC, since this is considered a form of discrimination. If you wanted to pursue the matter further, I would refer you to an employment lawyer and they could sue your employer for discrimination because you were injured at work. So there are steps that you can take if you are terminated to safeguard your rights. I genuinely want to stress though that it is absolutely against the law and that it happens much less frequently than people think. If you have these concerns or other issues you want to discuss, please call my office at (973) 285-1100.
For a free consultation, fill out our online contact form or call our office at 973-285-1100. Download my free ebook, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide, free of charge. It's packed with useful information relevant to your New Jersey workers' compensation case.