Questions for Attorney Carbone: Can My Employer Fire Me For My Work Injury?
Question: I was recently injured while at work. The injury was severe enough that I had to have surgery and missed a few days of work. When I returned to work a couple of weeks later, I was informed that my job was no longer available to me and I had been let go. Is it legal for my employer to fire me because of a work injury?
Answer: This can be a tricky situation. New Jersey is what’s called an “at-will” employment state. This means that both the employer and the employee has a right to end their working relationship at any time. This means that yes your employer can fire you for doing something like breaking the rules. For instance, if your work injury was caused by you not paying attention to your job or not following company procedure, then the employer can fire you despite your injuries. Another example would be your injuries have a direct impact on how you handle your job. For instance, the work injury left you blind and you’re a driver for your company, your employer may have to let you go.
However, it is illegal for an employer to fire you as a form of retaliation. Let’s say your injury was caused because your employer failed to follow safety regulations. Since all accidents need to be reported for insurance purposes, the state learns of the violation. Because the business is now under examination, your employer fires you. This is illegal.
Another example of wrongful termination after a worker’s injury is a breach of contract, even if that contract is implied. Let’s say your manager has assured you that you will never be fired from your job. Yet after the accident, you are let go. This is actually illegal. As you can see, it can get tricky. That’s why it’s best to see a lawyer after your injury to see what your next steps should be.
If you have a legal question for Attorney Carbone or need legal help, we want to hear from you! Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today and get the help that you need.