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Workers' Compensation

Can I Be Fired After Filing for Workers’ Compensation in NYS?

By January 16, 2023June 7th, 2023No Comments

New York State permits firing workers while on workers’ compensation. However, it is illegal for an employer to fire beneficiaries simply because they filed a workers’ compensation claim or are receiving benefits. If you believe you were let go in these circumstances, it’s called discrimination by retaliation. Discriminatory retaliation is the practice of an employer or supervisor retaliating against an employee who has made a complaint against them. It is an illegal discriminatory employment practice that can form the legal basis of a successful employment discrimination case.

Discrimination By Retaliation and Workers’ Compensation

Proof of discrimination by retaliation must include a causal connection between filing a workers’ compensation claim and your employer’s decision to terminate. If you were discriminated against in this way, you may be due financial compensation for the harm you experienced. Discriminatory termination is a serious offense and steps can be taken to hold offending employers accountable when possible.

The victim of this kind of retaliation should know cases can be challenging to prove, with only a small number winning in court. Discriminatory retaliation may be serious, but exposing this malicious behavior is complex. Lewis & Lewis stands ready to support your case in verifiable instances of discriminatory retaliation.

In New York State, “at will” employment dictates that employers can terminate workers for pretty much any reason, other than specific categories of employment discrimination based on race, sex, and age. Successful workers’ compensation claims can negatively impact an owner’s business, creating an incentive for the employer to fire you and attempt to prevent the workers’ compensation case from moving forward under the guise of legal termination. But workers’ compensation beneficiaries are protected under New York’s Family Medical Leave Act and cannot be fired within 12 weeks of injury.

“At will” employment isn’t the only factor affecting when and how an employee can be let go. For example, civil service law, union contracts, or formal employment agreements may protect your job temporarily but these arrangements are only available to a fraction of workers. Simply put, if your injury requires your employer to hire someone new to fill your position, they can let you go as long as it isn’t in retaliation for workers’ compensation. Therefore, proving a discriminatory retaliation involves ruling out other reasons for termination.

Know Your Options

It is important to know all your rights and options while out of work due to an injury and what to do if you are fired. There are ways you might minimize the potential effects of a retaliatory firing on your financial situation. Consider talking to your employer about returning to work in a limited/light-duty capacity, if your health allows. You may also qualify for benefits outside of workers’ compensation in the event you were dismissed from your job, such as unemployment benefits.

Know Your Rights

All workers have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim if injured while on the job or because of their job. While it can be difficult to prove, illegal discrimination by retaliation due to the filing of a workers’ compensation claim is a serious offense against your rights as an injured worker. For the best chance of success, hire the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Lewis & Lewis and let them fight for you. Contact us today for a risk-free consultation. We take no fees unless we win your case.

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