What if my employer fires me for filing for workers’ compensation?

Some Toms River employers go to great lengths to stop their employees from filing a workers’ compensation claim after a work-related injury. Through troubling hints or outright threats, they make it clear that anyone who files for workers’ comp will be demoted, punished or even fired. They usually do this to save money on workers’ compensation payments and insurance premiums and to intimidate the rest of the workforce.

This is called “retaliation” and it is against the law in New Jersey. If it happens to you, you have the right to sue for damages.

Proving that your boss retaliated against you after a work injury

Proving that you were fired in retaliation for making a workers’ comp claim can be complicated. Most jobs are “at-will,” which means the employer can terminate the worker for virtually any legally allowed reason. When a business retaliates against an injured worker, they usually invent some pretext because admitting the truth would get them in legal trouble. To prove that your firing, demotion, pay reduction or other negative action was in retaliation for your workers’ comp filing, you need to prove the following:

  • You had an injury or illness that qualified for workers’ compensation
  • You filed a workers’ compensation claim
  • You suffered a negative impact on your career (firing, reduced hours, wrongfully denied raise, etc.)
  • Your employer’s actions were motivated by your claim

Proving the last point can be the most challenging, but an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will know the signs of retaliation. The evidence is likely hidden, but it often can be found. No injured worker in New Jersey should be afraid to file for workers’ comp.

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