I Believe I Was Fired For Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim

worker wrongfully firedNo New Yorker hopes that during the course of their employment they will be injured on the job. In fact, few people understand how difficult an injury can make their lives, both physically and financially, until they experience this type of trauma themselves.

Under New York law, employers are required to protect their employees from becoming financially strained due to a work injury by providing them with workers’ compensation coverage that should pay for their medical expenses and a small portion of lost wages. In addition to this, the policy keeps the employer safe because it prevents the employee from filing a civil lawsuit against them.

However, despite the protection offered to the employer, many are quite uncooperative when it comes time to file a claim and may even threaten the employee with termination if they move forward.

Can My Employer Fire Me For Filing A Workers’ Comp Claim?

No. Even though New York is an at-will state, which means that an employer can choose to fire an employee for almost any reason, there are exceptions to this rule. One of the exceptions is workers’ compensation. No employer is legally allowed to discriminate against an employee who has filed a workers’ compensation which means that they cannot fire them for filing. But just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean that employers don’t do it.

What Should I Do If I Believe I’ve Been Wrongful Terminated?

There are steps that should be taken if you believe you may have been fired because of a workers’ compensation claim.

Contact An Experienced Attorney

Not only can our law firm help with the actual filing of the workers’ compensation claim, but we can also help a wrongfully terminated employee pursue a lawsuit which may help them recover compensation.

File With The New York Workers’ Compensation Board

It’s possible to file a discrimination claim with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board, however, this claim must be filed within two years of the incident.

If the Board investigates the firing and determines that the employee was wrongfully terminated, they have the authority to reinstate the employee into their previous position and order that the employer pay them for the wages they have lost.

What Can I Gain From Filing A Lawsuit?

It’s true that there is no amount of money can repair the physical or emotional pain that an injured employee has gone through, both from the injury and from being wrongfully terminated, but the damages that are awarded through a lawsuit can help the plaintiff obtain the care they need to move forward.

Recovered damages may include:

Lost Benefits

Many jobs offer benefits such as health benefits. If it is determined that the employee was wrongfully terminated, the benefits that they lost will be calculated and recouped through the lawsuit.

Lost Wages

Obviously, one of the major losses sustained when wrongfully terminated is the loss of income. The total amount lost and an additional percentage for failing to receive that income in a timely manner may be recoverable.

Emotional Trauma

It’s not uncommon for the stress of losing a job to cause severe anxiety and depression. Compensation for this distress can be part of the amount awarded to a plaintiff.

This complaint can be filed at the same time as a workers’ compensation claim.

What Can I Do To Help Prove My Case?

Knowing that you were wrongfully terminated and proving it are two very different things and it’s not like employers just admit that they have fired an employee illegally. This is why it’s important to work with an attorney but there are things that the former employee can do to help build their case. If possible, try to keep:

  • medical records
  • timesheets
  • emails from work
  • coworker contact information
  • employment contracts

How Long Does A Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Take?

At the very least it will take several months for a lawsuit to reach a resolution but it’s not uncommon for the case to go on for more than a year. However, this shouldn’t deter anyone from choosing to seek justice, because the majority of that time is spent building the case and collecting evidence. To learn more about how our law firm can help and about the process of filing a claim, contact us now.