In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation benefits are available to many injured workers. If you sustain an on-the-job injury or develop an occupational illness, you may be eligible for wage replacement, medical bill reimbursement and other valuable benefits.
Whether you love your job or simply rely on it for income, you may intend to return to work after recovering. Can you employer fire you because of your workers’ compensation claim, though?
Retaliation is not acceptable
Your employer may not appreciate your filing a workers’ compensation claim. After all, if you cannot work, your employer may need to find someone else to do your job. Your workers’ compensation claim may also cause your employer’s insurance rates to rise.
Still, retaliation is not acceptable under Pennsylvania law. Your employer may not retaliate against you either for suffering a work-related injury or for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
While termination of employment may be the starkest form of retaliation, other types are also off limits. For example, your employer may not use your workers’ compensation claim to demote you, cut your future hours or otherwise take adverse employment action.
Your employer may have other options
Even though your employer may not retaliate against you because of your workers’ compensation claim, you may not be entirely out of the woods.
Provided your employer does not retaliate against you, you may lose your job for other reasons or no reason at all. If your job-related injury occurred when you were violating safety rules, for example, your employer can likely end your employment after your injury.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between acceptable behavior and retaliation. Consequently, you should probably scrutinize any adverse employment action your employer takes against you after you suffer a workplace injury.