One of the things that keeps many employees from filing a worker’s compensation case after being injured on the job is the fear of being fired or otherwise punished by their boss. Many people don’t understand how the state of New York and the federal government protects individuals who were injured at work and have filed worker’s comp.
Can You Be Fired?
It is possible to be fired while you’re off work recovering from an injury. However, if you have filed a worker’s comp claim, it’s very likely that your firing will be considered an illegal termination under New York law. This means you can sue your employer and win. This is because you have a legal right to 12 weeks of leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This act does not guarantee you any pay during these 12 weeks, but it does protect your employment. Workers’ comp benefits may provide you with income during this period.
It is important to note that New York law does not consider your firing to be discrimination. The law states that employers can replace employees if they are unable to do their work. However, you can’t be fired simply because you file a worker’s comp claim. If you are, that does count as discrimination. You also can’t be fired for being a witness in a co-worker’s worker’s comp case.
Be Very Careful in Your Actions and Statements
Employers understand New York’s worker’s comp laws. In fact, many of them (or their company attorneys) understand the law better than most employees do. They know how to find loopholes that will allow them to fire employees without being sued for wrongful termination. You must be very careful with all of your actions and statements when filing worker’s comp. Otherwise, your employer may find something that can use to cite as a reason for firing you when you file a worker’s comp claim.
To help avoid this situation, you need to see an experienced worker’s comp doctor as soon as possible after your accident. Dr. Jeff Mollins is one such expert. He will make certain you have all of the necessary medical documents on hand when you file your worker’s comp case. Contact him today to make an appointment.