A retail worker with a partial permanent disability from a workplace accident applies for a job later in the same company’s warehouse. He’s doing a good job, but when his new boss learns of the workers compensation settlement, he fires the employee out of concern that he might be hurt again — and win another workers compensation case. Is this a legitimate reason for firing the employee?
Absolutely not. In fact, the result in this case was an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) suit and a judgment against the company for firing the employee.
According to New Jersey workers compensation law, employers must tread carefully if they are considering terminating employees after a workers compensation suit. The law prohibits retaliatory firings related to workers compensation claims, or even retaliatory firings for testifying at another worker’s hearing.
If the employer is challenged on the firing in court and loses, the employee could be entitled to his or her job back and payment of lost wages, and possibly other damages as well. However, the worker must be able to perform the normal duties of the position to sue. In other words, someone who received workers compensation and then returned to his or her job can be terminated for normal performance issues, just like any other employee.
If, on the other hand, it can be proved that the employer is letting you go because of your disabling condition, it could be grounds for an ADA lawsuit. An experienced attorney can help you pursue justice if you are fired under these conditions.
Posted in Workers Compensation