Question for Attorney Carbone: I Got Injured on the Job and Then I Was Fired. Is That Legal?
Question: I work as a delivery man. While working, I slipped and fell on a flight a stairs. I broke a few ribs and injured my back, but nothing a few months of healing won’t fix. I’m currently out on workers’ compensation. The other day, I received a letter in the mail from my employer informing me that I was laid off. Is that legal? Can my employer do that?
Answer: We’re so sorry this happened to you. Unfortunately, this situation can happen to a lot of people. When you are fired after a workplace accident in New Jersey, it may be a case of wrongful termination.
What is wrongful termination? This means when you are fired from your job for illegal reasons (such as being discriminated against), then you can file a lawsuit against your former employer. However, wrongful termination can be difficult to prove unless you have proof that this is the reason why you were let go.
When you are fired from your job while on workers’ compensation, there may be illegal reasons behind the incident. Here are a few:
- Retaliation — Let’s say your employer doesn’t want you to report your accident for fear of his/her rates increasing yet you do so anyway. Then next thing you know, you are being fired. This may be a case of retaliation for filing workers’ comp. Although a company will never come out and say that is the case, there may be evidence to show that your firing was an act of retaliation.
- Discrimination — We already said that one of the reasons for wrongful termination is discrimination. In this case, it may be because of your disability. Maybe your injured back will not allow you to do your old job. If this is the case, then according to the American Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, your employer cannot fire you based solely on your physical limitation. The employer may be able to offer you a different position.
Remember, New Jersey is an at-will state. This means an employer can fire you at any time for any reason. So you need to have solid evidence and a good attorney by your side to help with your case. It’s also important to know that
Were you injured in a workplace accident in New Jersey? Were you denied workers’ compensation? Let us help. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.