It is the legal right of an individual who is injured at the workplace to file a workers’ compensation claim and receive workers’ compensation benefits. This is regardless of the profession, core business, type of injury, or mechanism of injury.
In New Jersey, as in other states, there are limits on the timeframe, requirements for reporting the injury, and procedure for filing a workers’ compensation claim, but provided the necessary legal processes are followed, nothing should prevent an injured employee from exercising his or her right to compensation.
Therefore, in New Jersey any action by an employer to dissuade or prevent an employee from filing a valid workers’ compensation claim should not be tolerated. This begins with an employer’s failure or delay to report an employee injury to the proper insurance provider and extends to forms of retaliation against an employee who does file a workers’ compensation claim. The law takes steps to protect an employee’s right to workers’ compensation, even after a valid claim is filed or benefits received.
What Is Retaliation?
The most obvious form of retaliation after a worker’s compensation claim in New Jersey is the employer terminates the employee. Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation statute, an employer is prohibited from terminating an employer in retaliation for a workers’ compensation claim. Termination is also inexcusable for retaliation against an individual who testifies at a hearing in a workers’ compensation case.
However, retaliation does not have to be as overt as termination. Retaliation takes the form of disciplinary actions or negative evaluation comments without justification, refusing a promotion to a qualified candidate, decreasing hours or responsibilities, and other actions that adversely impact an employee’s job and career.
New Jersey law also prohibits these less obvious forms of retaliation. The statue states that an employer is prohibited from discriminating in any manner against an employee who has filed a workers’ compensation claim or has reported an injury to an employer for the purpose of receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Of course, with these prohibitions in place, the question is what can an employee in New Jersey do if he or she is discharged or discriminated against after a worker’s compensation claim?
Reactions to Discrimination
Under New Jersey law an employee who experiences retaliation by an employer can file a lawsuit against such employer. The lawsuit is in addition to a claim with the New Jersey workers’ compensation division. This is a claim for discrimination by your employer with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Through this claim an employee is entitled to certain remedies, including reinstatement to his or her prior position or immediate cease of discriminatory actions by an employer.
It can be demoralizing or confusing when an employer acts in a manner that is retaliatory or discriminatory. Often, employees are unsure where to turn or the best source of information on their rights. The best course of action is contacting a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer in New Jersey. Each state has different laws regarding retaliation and remedies, and it is important to have a local lawyer assist you with your claim.
The Law Office of Albert J. Talone is dedicated to handling workers’ compensation claims and any resulting discrimination claims. We have answers to your situation and can provide legal solutions to your workers’ compensation issue. Contact our office at (856)–234–4023.