What Happens to Your Benefits if You Are Terminated?
You”ve been hurt on the job and you”ve filed for benefits under the New Jersey workers’ compensation laws. You”ve had difficulties or disagreements with your employer in the past and your boss takes the opportunity, while you are disabled, to fill your position and terminate you. Can your employer do that? Does workers” compensation protect your job? That depends.
When Can an Employer Terminate You While You”re Collecting Work Comp Benefits?
It”s important to understand, up front, that workers” compensation benefits provide income protection—they do not protect your job. In New Jersey, where employment is “at will,” your employer may terminate you at any time and for any reason, provided the firing is not contrary to a valid employment agreement (including a collective bargaining agreement), or to law or public policy. If an employer has cause for termination, the workers” compensation laws won”t prevent your discharge. But your employer does not have to give a reason for your termination.
When Is It Illegal for an Employer to Fire an Employee Who Is Collecting Workers” Compensation?
Under New Jersey law, an employer may not fire a worker who is collecting work comp benefits because the employee filed a valid workers” compensation claim.
What Happens to Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits When You Are Terminated?
Suppose your employer legally fires you while you are collecting workers’ compensation benefits…will the benefits stop? Are they tied to your employment with the company?
No. As a general rule, your work comp benefits are tied to your injury, not to your continued employment with the company. However, if you voluntarily quit your job, income benefits may be discontinued. You will typically still qualify for medical benefits.
Contact the Cintron Firm
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Attorney Mark Cintron has worked as a prosecutor and has extensive courtroom experience, so he’s always ready, willing and able to protect your interests before a judge or jury. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or 917-494-5695 to set up an appointment.