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Is Your Employer Required to Hold Your Job?

Can You Protect Your Job When You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Is Your Employer Required to Hold Your Job?When you’ve been injured on the job, you have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim to compensate you for your disability and to cover any medical expenses. But your employer will probably need to find someone else to handle your responsibilities while you’re gone. What happens when you are able to return? Must your employer give you your old job back? Is there any way you can protect your job when you suffer a work-related injury?

You Cannot Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that New Jersey law prohibits termination of an employee for filing a valid workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, as a practical matter, that can be difficult to prove. New Jersey, like many states, is an “at will” employment state. That means that an employer or an employee may terminate employment at any time for any reason, provided it’s not contrary to a valid employment contract or to law or public policy. Your employer may allege other reasons for your termination. It will fall on you to prove the termination was because of the workers’ compensation claim.

There Are Limited Options for Protecting Your Job

Apart from the prohibition discussed above, there’s nothing in the New Jersey workers’ compensation laws that requires an employer to hold a job for an injured worker. There are two avenues, however, that you may consider:

  • Protecting your job under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—This federal law allows you to take up to 13 weeks of leave (unpaid, unless you have sick time or vacation to cover it) to attend to certain family or medical matters. If your FMLA request is approved, your employer must keep your job or a similar one available for you.
  • Protecting your job through a collective bargaining agreement—If you belong to a union and work under a union contract, there may be provisions that require your employer to hold your job for a certain amount of time when you have been injured.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment.

Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We’ll come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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