Can You Get FIRED For Filing Workers' Comp in New York?

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Can You Get FIRED for Filing Workers' Comp in New York?

Hello, everyone! I'm Rex Zachofsky, a New York Workers' Compensation Attorney. Today, I’ll be addressing some common questions and concerns about workers' compensation and employment in New York. If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to my office at 212-406-8989.

Is It Legal for Your Employer to Fire You for Filing Workers' Compensation?

This is a frequently asked question and a bit complex. New York is an at-will employment state, meaning employers can hire and fire employees for almost any reason, except for discriminatory reasons. Unless you're a contracted employee (think Derek Jeter), you can be terminated at will.

However, if you're fired specifically for filing or participating in a workers' compensation claim, you have the right to file a New York State Workers' Compensation Discrimination action. This type of case is handled by the Workers' Compensation Board. Unfortunately, proving discrimination can be challenging, as employers often justify firings with reasons like poor performance or lateness. While it’s a difficult case to prove, it’s not impossible if you have strong evidence.

How Often Do Employers Retaliate for Filing Workers' Compensation Claims?

Retaliation for filing workers' compensation claims is less common than many people fear. Employers generally understand that discriminating against an employee for this reason can lead to serious consequences for them. However, it does happen. If you’re fired for filing a claim or for participating in someone else’s claim, you can and should file a discrimination action with the Workers' Compensation Board.

Are Employers Required to Hold Your Job?

No, they are not. This is a common misconception. Employers are not legally required to hold your job while you are on workers' compensation. They need to keep their businesses running, and this often means replacing an injured worker. While some employers might choose to hold your position out of goodwill, it’s not a formal requirement.

What Happens to Your Benefits if You Lose Your Job While on Workers' Comp?

Losing your job generally does not affect your entitlement to workers' compensation benefits. Whether you were injured on your first day or after many years, your benefits should continue as long as you need them. There can be complications if you return to work with restrictions and then get fired for another reason, but this doesn't mean your case is closed. It’s just a challenge that needs to be addressed.

What Can Injured Workers Do if They Face Retaliation?

If you believe you were fired for filing or participating in a workers' compensation claim, you should file a workers' compensation discrimination action. Contact your local Workers' Compensation Board, which can provide guidance on the process. Having evidence is crucial—emails, messages, or any documentation that shows you were discriminated against for your claim can significantly support your case.

Recommendations from a Workers' Compensation Lawyer

My number one recommendation is to get a lawyer. Having legal representation is beneficial even if your case seems straightforward. It doesn't cost you anything upfront since workers' compensation lawyers in New York only get paid if they recover money for you. They can provide immediate assistance if problems arise, ensuring you’re not left scrambling for help.

Additionally, make sure you have a good doctor who understands the workers' compensation system. Medical evidence is critical in these cases—it’s the proof you need to show your injuries are work-related and their severity.

Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim?

Yes, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a workers' compensation claim in New York. This starts from the date of the accident or from when you knew or should have known that your injury was work-related, in cases of repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. Consulting with a lawyer early on ensures you don’t miss these crucial deadlines.

Conclusion

If you have any more questions or need further assistance, please call my office at 212-406-8989. Consultations are free, and we’re here to help. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos on various workers' compensation issues. We're committed to addressing your concerns and providing the information you need.

Thanks for reading, and take care!

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111 John Street
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phone number

212-406-8989

address

111 John Street
Suite 1615
New York, NY 10038

phone number

212-406-8989