After a work injury, there are many reasons why people don’t file workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes people are just cynical and don’t believe the system will help them. Others feel like workers’ compensation might be seen as somehow cheating the system and will make them look bad.
One of the most common reasons for not filing a workers’ comp claim is fear of being fired. If you’ve been hurt, you might think that your employer will terminate your employment if you file a claim.
Is it legal for my boss to fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
The short answer is: No. It is illegal for your employer to fire you for filing a claim.
However, as with most legal questions, the overall analysis is more complicated than that. For example, Philadelphia is an at-will employment state, which means that your employer can terminate your contract for any reason, as long as it doesn’t violate state or federal laws.
If your employer fires you for the sole reason of you filing for workers’ compensation benefits, it would be considered retaliation, and this is illegal. However, according to Workers’ Compensation Watch, Pennsylvania courts narrowly interpret retaliation laws. This means that it is often difficult to prove a retaliation claim.
What can I do?
Even with the difficulties involved, your best bet is to file a claim. At minimum, this will create a record of your injuries and your actions to mitigate the problems they have caused.
If you have been injured at work, the best thing to do is talk to an attorney right away. File your claim quickly and seek workers’ compensation benefits. You don’t know how bad or long-lasting your injuries might be, so it is important to get your claim filed to make sure you are protected if you have serious, lasting injuries.
There is too much at stake to risk losing your benefits.