What should I do if my employer fires me for making a workers’ comp claim?

One does not need to work a dangerous occupation to get hurt on the job.  For decades, employees hurt while on the clock were faced with termination.


One does not need to work a dangerous occupation to get hurt on the job.  For decades, employees hurt while on the clock were faced with termination as their place was quickly filled from the waiting queue of unemployed workers willing to take the chance of getting hurt in exchange for a steady paycheck.

What should I do if my employer fires me

In the crucible of industrialization and the spotlight of the progressive era, public policy slowly moved towards the establishment of worker’s compensation fund to aid injured workers.

By 1948, all 48 states had enacted legislation protecting workers should get hurt while performing their job duties.  While now a staple of worker’s rights, many hurt employees fear that they might get fired for filing a worker’s compensation claim, and wonder what they should do if their employer fires them for filing a claim?

The Current State of Worker’s Compensation Laws

Needless to say, worker’s compensation laws have been evolved and tweaked over the years.  Under current regulations, the following facts represent the current state of worker’s compensation laws:

  • Each state regulates and administers its own compensation program.
  • Benefits are provided to injured workers without regards to a fault, which also limits employer liability.
  • When calculating benefits, agencies look at future wages lost to a permanent disability.
  • Not all occupational injuries are eligible for worker’s compensation.

Most importantly, these laws make it illegal to terminate an employee as retaliation for a claim.  That being said, however, an employee can be let loose for reasons other than for filing a claim.  As an example, should an employee be medically released for light duty, but fail to accept the assignment could be subject to termination.

Legal Considerations for Injured Employees

Many workers, fearing problems at work, fail to file a compensation claim, and either suffer through the injury or bear the cost of treatment through their own insurance and sick leave days.  Employers are not legally able to terminate an employee for filing a legitimate injury claim, and any human resources manager worth their salt is fully cognizant of this fact.  As such, don’t expect to find that among the causes of termination.

Employers can, however, take action against employees for willful disobedience or other valid reasons, and therefore terminate the employee without opening themselves up to a civil lawsuit for wrongful termination.  Owing to this fact, many employees are at a loss for what to do in these situations.  Should you suspect that you are the victim of retaliation for filing a claim, you should seek out a qualified attorney to look into your case to determine any evidence of malfeasance.

Here in Pennsylvania, we operate under an at-will employment status, which means that as a general rule, unless protected by union membership or employment contract, an employer can terminate their workers for any reason, or even no reason at all.  This becomes much more difficult once the employee has filed a successful claim.  If you believe yourself to be the victim of retaliatory firing, you need to contact an attorney immediately to protect your interests and rights.

Collect your Data and Call an Attorney

Workman compensation claims can be a lengthy and complicated process.  A qualified attorney by your side can help you navigate the filing an initial claim, and fight back with an appeal process should your claim be denied.  Prior to calling an attorney, you will want to make sure all of your ducks are in a row.  Towards that end, protect yourself by keeping detailed records of all medical and insurance-related conversations and correspondences.

Additionally, take detailed notes for later reference of any conversations you may have had that buttress your case.  Not all firings are retaliatory, mass layoffs or poor work performance could also be the cause of the separation, but it is advisable to get legal advice because whenever an employee is terminated while on disability should raise red flags for investigation.

Call Our Legal Team at Wapner Newman Attorneys at Law

If you fear that you have been the victim of retaliatory firing because you filed a workman’s compensation claim, you should immediately call our office here at Wapner Newman Attorneys at Law.  With more than four decades of experience fighting for the rights of workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we understand the ins and outs of workman’s compensation claims and defences.

Getting hurt on the job is bad enough, and long periods of time out of work can be economically catastrophic for you and your family, so make sure that you are protecting yourself and your family financing by talking today with one of our team of talented and knowledgeable attorneys.  We will go over your case, and if we determine that you have been wrongfully terminated for filing a workman’s compensation claim, we will work diligently on your behalf to ensure you get the benefits that are legally yours under the worker’s compensation laws of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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