Pennsylvania law allows employers to fire or lay off workers while they have an open workers’ compensation claim, but the employer must have a reason that shows they are not retaliating for the injury claim. While companies can generally fire “at-will” employees for any reason, some statutes make it illegal to retaliate against a worker for suffering an injury or filing a workman’s comp claim.
If you believe your Pittsburgh employer is retaliating against you for opening a workers’ compensation claim or if you are afraid to file a claim because you believe they may fire you as a result, we encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible by calling (412) 661-1400.
Your Employer Can Fire You While You Are on Workers’ Compensation — In Some Cases
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If there are mass layoffs because of budget cutbacks, if your employer had already planned to fire you, or if there is another legitimate reason to terminate your employment, your company is legally allowed to do so. It is important they have documentation and facts to back up their decision, however.
Among the reasons a company cannot fire you is because you are a member of a protected class — based on sex, race, age, color, creed, religion, disability, national origin, or genetic information — or because you are a whistleblower. These are protections under federal law. Pennsylvania state laws also protect those filing workers’ compensation claims from retaliation. These laws ensure your employer cannot fire you for filing an insurance claim.
You Will Continue to Draw Benefits Even if Your Employer Fires You
While it is never easy to lose your job, it may come as a relief to learn that your workers’ compensation benefits should continue. When your employer informs you that they laid you off, eliminated your position, filled your position, or terminated you, it does not affect your workers’ compensation claim. Your medical care coverage and lost wages benefits will continue.
If your doctor approves you for light-duty work and your previous employer does not want you to come back to work or does not have a position for you, you will continue to draw temporary total disability benefits equal to about two-thirds of your previous pay.
You may also qualify for additional benefits through workers’ compensation, including occupational training. This could allow you to gain additional skills and knowledge that ensures you can earn the same or higher wages when the doctor clears you to return to work.
Berger and Green Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve After a Pittsburgh On-the-Job Injury
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At Berger and Green, our workers’ compensation team will aggressively pursue the full benefits you deserve after a workplace injury. We will not let your employer or their insurer take advantage of you. We will protect your rights as detailed under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act while putting together a plan to secure compensation for you and your family. This may include:
- Appealing a workers’ compensation denial
- Building a case and filing a personal injury lawsuit against a liable third party
- Holding your employer responsible for retaliating against you, if needed
- Filing for Social Security Disability on your behalf if you have lasting impairments that prevent you from returning to work
We can review your case at no cost to you today. We can tell you which of these is necessary and possible in your case and take action to seek the benefits and payouts you need to make ends meet despite your injuries and impairments.
We handle all cases based on contingency, so you will not owe us any attorney’s fees until you get the compensation you deserve. We serve clients in the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area, Allegheny County, and elsewhere in the region.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation and Workplace Injury Attorney in Pittsburgh Today
The lawyers from Berger and Green understand the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act. We can help you understand if your employer is acting illegally and take action if they are. We will explain your legal options in clear language you can understand and give you all the information you need to make decisions about your case.
While you can continue to draw workers’ compensation while you recover from your injuries, we understand how stressful it can be not to know if you have a job to return to after the doctor releases you to work. We can help set this worry at-ease by exploring your other options for compensation and pursuing a case against a negligent third-party when possible.
Call us today at (412) 661-1400 to learn more about how we can help you with your Pittsburgh workers’ compensation case.