Can An Employee Be Laid Off While Receiving Workers’ Comp?
A layoff can be legal even while you are receiving workers’ compensation. But despite being laid off, you may be legally entitled to continue receiving your benefits until you are medically fit (released) to work. However, when this happens, your former employer will not rehire you as you were already laid off.
Assess Your Employer’s Actions
In this peculiar situation, it is important to closely assess your employer’s action. Your employer has a right to lay you off even when you have an active workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania. But the condition is that the layoff must not be related in any way to your claim.
If a number of workers have been laid off together, a work facility or an entire department has been closed (where you worked), your employer is not legally obligated to protect your job merely because you are receiving workers’ compensation.
But if you are the only worker who has lost the job, it is a matter that requires closer scrutiny. If the employer intended to protect themselves from liability and terminated your employment in the guise of a “layoff,” you may have a strong claim for wrongful termination, retaliation, or discrimination. It is best to seek legal advice from a proven and capable workers’ comp attorney in PA.
What Happens if You have Permanent Work Restrictions?
If you have permanent work restrictions due to the work injury, it is up to your employer if they are able and/or willing to accommodate those restrictions. If your employer will not, whatever the reason, the workers’ compensation carrier will typically ask the employer to sign a sworn Affidavit indicating that work is not available. From there, the workers’ compensation carrier can hire a Vocational Expert to conduct an interview with you to ascertain your educational background and transferable skills in an effort to find work “generally available” in your area then request a reduction or total suspension of your workers’ compensation wage loss benefits.
Possibility of Retaliatory Termination
If your employer terminates your job for having filed a workers’ comp claim, chances are that they will never indicate to you that it is the real reason behind your firing. They will show it as a layoff, but in these circumstances where you have reported a work-related injury, you may have grounds to sue the employer for retaliatory or discriminatory termination.
If you are suspicious about the circumstances surrounding your termination, you should make notes of all communication you had with your employer and preserve emails and documentation that could later serve as evidence to support your case. At the same time, you should speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible for legal advice.
Speak to a Knowledgeable PA Workers’ Comp Attorney Today
Paula Robinson, Esq. is an aggressive, yet compassionate workers’ compensation attorney in Pennsylvania with extensive knowledge and experience in this field. If you have suffered a work-related injury or disability, Paula with fight to protect your rights and maximize your recovery. Schedule a consultation with us today.