In the aftermath of a work-related injury, you can be reluctant to notify your employer for fear that your job may be in jeopardy. Jobs may be tough to find and there may be a lot of competition for your spot. You may be willing to simply try to ignore the pain, so that you don’t have to worry about getting fired. Can your employer let you go because you’ve sought workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace accident? Can your employer simply fill your position while you are off on disability and claim that there are no openings when you are ready to return to work?
Under the workers’ compensation laws in Pennsylvania, an employer may not terminate or otherwise discriminate against an employee based solely on the fact that the worker has filed a valid workers’ compensation claim. As a consequence, not only are you protected from wrongful discharge, but your employer may not engage in any other actions that will be considered retaliatory, including:
- Denial of or disqualification for raises, bonuses or promotions
- Assignment of undesirable, demeaning or inappropriate work tasks
- Exclusion from access to benefits readily available to all other workers in similar positions
As a practical matter, because employment is considered “at will” in Pennsylvania, you may have some difficulties proving that you were fired as retribution for seeking workers’ compensation. With at will employment, your employer may terminate your employment at any time, for any reason, provided it’s not contrary to law or public policy. If you can produce credible evidence, though, that you were let go because of the workers’ compensation claim, you will have a right to recover for your losses.
Contact Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, we have fought for the rights of individuals throughout Delaware County since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or contact us online.