Due to this “notice” requirement, many injured employees are hesitant to file a formal workers’ compensation claim or even pursue the medical treatment they need. One of the most common questions we encounter at an initial client consultation is: “Can my employer fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?”
The NJ Workers’ Compensation Act expressly addresses this question. N.J.S.A. 34:15-39.1 states in pertinent part: “It shall be unlawful for any employer to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee as to his employment because such employee has claimed or attempted to claim workmen’s compensation benefits from such employer, or because he has testified, or is about to testify, in any proceeding under the chapter to which this act is a supplement.”
Although the language of the statute specifically prohibits an employer from discharging or discriminating against an employee as to his employment, there are some ways around this. For example, an employer does not have to allow you to return to your job if you are unable to perform its essential responsibilities or if it would be hazardous to your safety or health or the safety or health of other employees, clients, or customers[i]
If you have been injured on the job, it is very important to notify your employer of the accident and need for accident related medical treatment. After you have done that, contact a workers’ compensation attorney at Hyberg, White and Mann to discuss your entitlement to WC benefits and any potential implication of retaliatory discharge/discrimination. Call us at 609-407-1000 to schedule your free consultation.
[i] Malone v. Aramark Servs., Inc., 334 N.J. Super. 669, 681 (Law Div. 2000).
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