Can You Be Fired After Filing for Workers’ Compensation?
Could You Be Fired After a Workplace Injury?
The short answer is “no”. It is illegal for an employer in Pennsylvania to fire an employee for filing a workers comp claim. PA workers’ compensation law prohibits employers from terminating an injured worker for:
- Reporting a work-related injury or disease
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Having a workers comp claim approved
- Receiving workers comp benefits
If you have recently opened a PA workers comp claim or if you have recently reported a work-related injury or illness to your employer and you believe you are experiencing punitive actions such as unfair treatment or if you have been fired, you need to contact an experienced and skillful Wilkes-Barre workers’ compensation attorney at Munley Law to help you prove your employer’s actions were unlawful.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
When you have been injured in a work-related incident or accident in Pennsylvania, you are entitled under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act to collect workers’ compensation benefits. When you are hurt at work or if you have aggravated an existing injury or you have developed a long-term injury or disease from working conditions, PA worker’s compensation insurance is your financial safety net.
Workers’ compensation benefits help provide financial relief for medical expenses and help with financial benefits for lost wages for time missed from work for your injury, medical visits, and recovery.
All employers with very few, specific exceptions are required by law to provide all of their employees with workers’ compensation insurance.
It is illegal for an employer in Pennsylvania to fire an employee out of retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
If you have been injured at work, and you feel you are being treated unfairly, or if you have been fired after filing a workers’ compensation claim, call Munley Law today or use our contact form on this page for your free case evaluation.
How Do I Prove I Was Wrongfully Terminated for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Wilkes-Barre employers understand state law. Many employers also have an attorney or attorneys who will fight to protect them. They already know they are not legally allowed to fire injured workers for reporting a workplace injury or fire or punish a worker who has filed a workers’ comp claim.
Your employer may attempt to make your termination appear that it was not in retaliation for your workers’ compensation claim or injury or illness. They might try to claim they were unsatisfied with your work performance or that they were planning layoffs unrelated to your injury or claim.
You will need an experienced Wilkes-Barre workers’ compensation attorney to help you prove that you lost your job as a direct result of your injury or claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Your workers’ comp lawyer will help gather your annual reviews, and history at your job and collect other crucial data and evidence to help prove your claim.
What Are the Signs That My Employer Is Retaliating Against Me for My Workers’ Comp Claim?
Signs your employer might be planning to fire you unlawfully after your work injury include:
- Changing your shift for one they know you cannot work
- They suddenly begin to complain about your work performance, current or past
- They are decreasing your work hours
- You believe they are retaliating by assigning you more undesirable work duties as compared to your co-workers
- They have overtly threatened you or your job with termination or retaliation
- You have been fired
Another sign that your employer may be trying to punish you for being injured or becoming sick from work duties might be when they attempt to delay your workers’ compensation claim. You should expect to receive payments within three weeks of filing your initial compensation claim. If you don’t receive
My Employer Fired Me After I Filed My Workers’ Comp Claim. Will I Still Receive My Benefits?
Yes. PA law mandates that you receive your benefits even if you were fired shortly after filing your claim unless it can be proven that you were fired for misconduct.
Pennsylvania is what is known as an “at-will employment” state. What this means simply is that any employer can fire any employee at any time for any LEGAL reason.
Sometimes PA employers might try to use the term “at-will” to cover for an illegal termination so it is vital that Pennsylvania workers understand their rights.
It is illegal under Pennsylvania law to fire an employee for discriminatory reasons which include but are not limited to, according to the PA Department of Labor and Industry: “…dismissal based on sex, race, religion, nationality, age, or disability; and (2) if the employer meets certain size criteria, employers must provide 60 days notice in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.” It is also illegal in Pennsylvania to fire an employee as retaliation for:
- Reporting a work injury or disease
- Opening a case for workers’ comp benefits
- Winning a worker’s compensation benefits case
- Receiving workers comp benefits
Even if you are an at-will employee you are still protected under PA state law for unlawful termination.
If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim and you have experienced a wrongful termination or you are planning to file a workers’ compensation claim or you have reported a job injury or work-related disease to your employer, you have the legal right to hire an experienced PA workers comp attorney to help. When your company fires you for a reported injury or illness you have more protections under the law than most employees know.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
If you are injured at work, you are entitled to collect workers comp benefits. When you are under a doctor’s care and the doctor determines you have reached MMI this means you cannot medically improve any further and your compensation benefits will stop.
- If you have reached MMI and you are able to return to work with reasonable accommodation, your compensation benefits will stop.
- If your MMI comes with work restrictions, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
If you were involved in a workplace injury and aren’t sure what your next steps should be, we’re here to help. The workers’ compensation law experts at Munley Law will charge nothing until you win your case. Contact our Wilkes-Barre workers’ compensation attorneys today to schedule a free consultation.
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