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Workers Compensation: Can I Be Fired While Out On Disability?

Can You Be Fired While Out On Disability? Ask Attorney Jeffrey M. Bloom, NJ

Workers Compensation: Can I Be Fired While Out On Disability?

The short answer is yes, you can be fired or laid off while on workers’ compensation, but the reason cannot be because of that. There must be some other reason why you were fired or laid off, having nothing to do with your workers’ compensation claim.

Being An “At-Will” Employee

“At-will” employment means that employers can terminate their employees for any reason or no reason. And, employees can resign from their jobs for any reason or no reason. If you do not know exactly what your employment situation is, you are most likely an “at-will” employee.

If you are an “at-will”  employee, your employer can say he’s terminating you based upon previous insufficient work performance, the need for layoffs, company restructuring or any other reason. However, if you have filed a workers’ comp claim, it is possible that your employer may feel that this is a reason to let you go.

Of course, he will not tell an employee on workers’ compensation that their workers’ compensation claim is the reason they are being terminated because that would be illegal. Employers are well aware that you could then file a lawsuit for discrimination or retaliatory termination.

Medical Recovery While On Disability

Ultimately your employer is required to keep you on during your workers’ compensation claim until you fully recover from your injury or reach what is known as  “maximum medical improvement.”

The term “maximum medical improvement” (MMI) is a term used to indicate the point at which your condition related to your workplace injury is not likely to improve with further treatment.

Work Restrictions While On Disability

If after you have reached your MMI, you have any permanent work restrictions, you must discuss these limitations with your employer. Your employer is required to make reasonable efforts to accommodate any new work restrictions so that you can perform your job.

If these restrictions can reasonably be accommodated, your employer must do it. This is a requirement by law, adhering to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It may be possible that your employer is unable to accommodate your work restrictions. It may be that the very job that you do is part of the restriction. As with a taxi driver and you are not allowed to drive any longer. Your employer would have the right to terminate your employment

Your employer does have the option of offering you alternative work. Most often, this occurs when an employer gives you a different position in the company with different physical requirements. If you cannot return to your job, you are eligible for additional workers’ compensation benefits, in most cases. This could include vocational retraining or potentially a pension through permanent and total disability benefits.

Workers’ Compensation and Disability – Ask Attorney Jeffrey M. Bloom

This area of the law can be confusing and complicated. It would behoove you to seek out an experienced, well-regarded workers’ compensation attorney. Time is always of the essence in any disability claim- so don’t wait. The Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Bloom is here to help you through the complexities and confusion. Together we can navigate through the minutiae and get you the results you deserve – (855) 208-3650.

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