When is a Forced Resignation Ok in PA?
It is against the law for employers to force injured workers out of their jobs because they suffered a work injury and are pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation provides both wage loss benefits and medical expenses to injured workers. There is no fault with workers’ compensation benefits, and the benefits are provided to help injured workers who need to be out of work to recuperate, if possible.
Some employers may try to force out or terminate an injured worker all for what amounts to “monetary” reasons. These could include replacing the worker and not waiting for them to recover, avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits, not accommodating medical based restrictions, and also avoid paying unemployment benefits. See, if an employee voluntarily resigns, they are not eligible for unemployment benefits and furthermore, cannot pursue any wrongful termination lawsuit against their former employer.
Many times, when a compensation settlement agreement also known as a Compromise and Release Agreement is negotiated, the employer through the workers’ compensation carrier will insist on the injured workers’ resignation. These Resignation Letters in Pennsylvania have been upheld as enforceable. Some reasons why employers want Resignation Letters with a lump sum settlement are:
- They do not want the employee coming back to work and discussing the settlement with any co-workers
- They do not want to give a lump sum amount of money, then have the employee come back and earn paychecks
- They do not want the liability that the injured worker might re-injure themselves again on the job
The workers’ compensation benefits are governed by the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act and under that law, employers are not allowed to retaliate against injured workers just because they are injured. If you or someone you know have suffered a work injury and have been treated wrongly in any way, you need to consult an experienced Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to understand your rights.