Can I Be Fired While on Workers’ Compensation in Allentown?

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Injured on the Job? You Have a Right to Workers Comp

scranton workers compensation lawyerIf you were injured on the job in Allentown Pennsylvania, you may be asking “Can I be fired while on workers’ compensation in Allentown?” The answer is you have rights to compensation. Unfortunately, there are Allentown employers who do not want to pay fair compensation to their hurt employee and will terminate the employee unjustly for seeking workers’ compensation. This is illegal.

You have a right to workers’ compensation following a workplace injury and no employer has the right to terminate you for filing a claim. It can, however, be difficult to prove that your employer wrongfully terminated your position for filing a claim. This is where the Munley Law workers’ compensation attorneys come in. They have been fighting for the rights of people like you for over 60 years. They will investigate your claim, your place of work, your employer, and the circumstances surrounding your job loss in order to make sure your rights are protected. 

Contact us today for a free consultation with a seasoned Allentown workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss the pathway forward to secure compensation and your job. The Munley workers’ compensation attorneys do not work on a retainer. That means you do not pay your lawyer until a settlement or verdict is reached in your favor. Call today for a free consultation to get your life back on track and make sure justice is served.

Will I Lose My Workers’ Compensation Benefits if I Am Fired in Allentown, Pennsylvania?

Workers’ compensation benefits are financial payments to an employee who was injured on the job. The workers’ compensation system was set up to protect both the employer and employee. The employer provides workers’ compensation insurance to all their employees. If hurt, the insurance they pay for will cover medical expenses and lost wages to the employee. In return, the employee cannot directly sue the employer for the work injury.

According to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, if an employee who is receiving workers’ compensation benefits is laid off or terminated while receiving those benefits, it should not affect their rights to benefits.

How Hard is it to Prove I Was Wrongfully Terminated?

Pennsylvania is an at-will state, which means an employer can fire an employee at any time, for any reason without legal recourse by the employee. At the same time, an employee may quit a job at any time, for any reason without recourse from their employer. However, even in an at-will state, Allentown employees have protection under certain circumstances, such as workers’ compensation. Under no circumstances is your employer allowed to retaliate against you for filing a claim, nor can the employee be punished for winning a claim and receiving workers’ comp benefits. 

Common forms of retaliation you should be aware of are: 

  • Decreased working hours
  • Demotion
  • Threats from your employer
  • Making the work more difficult for you
  • False claims of a poor job performance
  • Mistreatment by the employer
  • Sudden, unfavorable shifts
  • Undesirable work duties compared with other employees at your level
  • Lessening opportunities for advancement
  • Firing

Knowing wrongful termination is illegal, employers generally do not claim they are firing or mistreating their employee because of the workers’ compensation claim. It can be challenging to prove that your termination or mistreatment is directly due to the claim. Your workers’ compensation attorney will investigate the situation and collect evidence to prove your employer singled you out because of the workers’ compensation claim.

 The Evidence Your Lawyer Will Use Can Include: 

Wilkes-Barre workers' compensation lawyersTime in which you were fired
If you were the only employee fired suddenly, that raises a red flag. If your termination directly followed your workers’ compensation claim, it indicates your employer’s action was a response to the claim. 

Actions/Statements by employer
Take note of all comments made by your management, employer, and even other employees. If you were discouraged from filing a claim, take note. If your employer tried to insist that your injury was not that bad, or that it would not be covered under workers’ compensation, write down the conversation and what was said. Date the conversation and mark the time. Your workers’ comp lawyer use it as documentation for your claim.

Reason for termination
If you were recently given a promotion or praise for excellent job performance, but were fired directly after filing a workers’ compensation claim, that is a sign of wrongful termination. If your boss says you were fired for financial reasons, but no one else was terminated, tell your workers’ compensation lawyer. 

Documenting as much as possible will be vital to your case. Your attorney will use all the documentation to discover patterns of behavior, review the quality of your work, interview other employees, and successfully bring a claim against your former employer.

What Should I Do if I Think I Have Been Wrongfully Terminated

If you’ve suffered wrongful termination you may be able to sue your employer for damages. Allentown, Pennsylvania employers, even though protected by at-will laws, are forbidden to fire their employers for the following reasons:

  • Race
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Family status
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Whistleblower status (someone bringing light to illegal activity within the company)
  • If the employee has a GED versus a high school diploma
  • If the employee engaged in activities protected by law, such as filing for workers’ compensation, taking family leave or medical leave, or making a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination.

Workers’ compensation claims are clearly protected under the law. Speak with your Munley workers’ compensation lawyer in your free case review to discuss the damages you may be able to collect if you prove your employer wrongfully terminated you following a workers’ compensation claim.

The Damages You May be Able to Collect Are:

Lost Wages
You would be able to recover wages and benefits that were owed to you prior to your termination. You may also recover the wages that you would have been paid as long as you are out of work. If you accept a lower-paying position as a result of the workplace injury, you are entitled the difference in wages between your old and your new job.

Emotional distress
Suffering a work-related injury is extremely stressful. Not only do you have to financially cope with the unexpected medical bills to address the work injury, but you may also lose time and wages at work due to the work injury. Add wrongful termination to the mix and that is enough to give anyone enormous amounts of anxiety.

Talk to your Allentown workers’ compensation lawyer about the emotional distress you and your family suffered throughout the ordeal. There is no exact estimate of how much you would be able to recover for emotional distress, but your Munley Law workers’ compensation attorney will fight fiercely to secure the maximum amount of compensation for the emotional distress you suffered.

Punitive damages
Punitive damages are payments awarded to the victim when the defendant’s behavior is found to be willfully egregious or extremely harmful. They are damages that are typically used to punish the employer for their conduct.

Allentown, PA Workers’ Compensation FAQ

worker falling with boxesIs there a statute of limitations on Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claims?

A: Yes, an employee must report a work-related injury to their employer within 120 days of the incident. If you do not report the incident within that window, you may forfeit the right to make a workers’ comp claim. After you made the incident known to your employer, you have three years to file your workers’ compensation claim.

If you suffered from a disease or illness due to your work duties or work environment, the illness or disease must have occurred within 300 weeks from the date you were last employed.

What is light duty?

A: Light duty is a job for the injured worker that is either physically or mentally less demanding than their regular job. Light duty is meant to allow the employee to return to work while still receiving workers’ comp benefits. Your doctor has the right to clear you for light duty tasks. If your doctor gives you the green light, and your employer can provide a light duty job, then it is in your best interest to accept the light duty work while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

What is a penalty petition?

A: A penalty petition is a claim injured workers can can file when the laws of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act are violated by their employer. Typical violations an employer can commit are failure to pay for medical attention the employee needed after suffering the work-related injury and failure to pay the wage loss benefits after the injury. Other reasons to file a penalty petition include:

  • Unjust termination of benefits
  • Denied claims from lack or or improper investigation
  • Failure to notify injured workers if their workers’ compensation claim is accepted or denied within a 21 day window.

After a penalty petition is filed,  injured workers will go before a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Judge who will make a ruling on the case. Make sure to contact the Munley Law workers’ compensation attorneys before your claim is heard by the judge. Your lawyer will represent you in front of the judge, protecting your rights and fighting for the maximum amount of compensation.Scranton personal injury attorneys

Hire an Experienced Allentown Workers Compensation Lawyer Today

If you’ve been injured on the job and left wondering: “Can I be fired while on workers compensation in Allentown?,” then speak to a lawyer today. The Allentown workers comp lawyers at Munley Law have been fighting on behalf of hardworking Northeastern Pennsylvanians for more than 60 years. We have the skills and experience to deal with your employer if they are refusing you the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.

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