What happens if I get fired while on workers’ compensation benefits?
In New York it is illegal for your employer to fire you in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. That means that your employer can’t fire you simply because you filed a claim. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be fired while you have an open workers’ compensation file. Sometimes, employers are forced to let disabled employees go because they simply can’t wait for the injured person to get better and return to work. In that situation, it is completely legal to let you go, unless of course you have a contract of employment, union bargained or otherwise. If you are let go, workers’ compensation will continue to pay your wages until your doctor releases you back to work.
But let’s say you already returned to work with restrictions, such as a limit on how much you can lift or how long you can stand. If you lose your job for any reason, whether you are fired for cause, down-sized or let go from work because you can no longer do the job as a result of these restrictions, then workers’ compensation will continue to pay you some amount of wages (reduced by your degree of disability). For instance, if you are 50% disabled with restrictions that prevent you from doing your job and your employer lets you go, you will receive 50% of your total compensation rate until such time as you start another job or the doctor says your degree of disability has changed.
Keep in mind, however, that if you are partially disabled and out of work you MUST maintain attachment to the labor market in order to continue to collect workers’ compensation wage benefits!
If you have questions about being fired while receiving workers’ compensation benefits call Segar & Sciortino to speak with one of our experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney advocates.