When an individual has suffered an injury at work, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides the employee with missed wages and medical benefits to help them. It is important to note that employers cannot retaliate against an employee for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. Employers can fire an employee for another legal reason, even if they have an open Workers’ Compensation claim and are currently receiving benefits. So, what happens if an employee is fired or laid off while receiving those benefits?
To determine whether an employer has the right to terminate an employee, we must first focus on what type of employment contract has been implemented. For most Pennsylvania employees, their contract is at-will, meaning that their employer can terminate them for any reason as long as it does not violate their civil rights. At-will employees are also entitled to resign from their jobs at any time and for any reason.
For an injured employee who is receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits, but is let go from their employment, they are still entitled to benefits. Therefore, even though you no longer work for your employer, you will continue to receive wage loss and medical benefits. One of the only times that a worker may jeopardize their right to Workers’ Compensation benefits is if their doctor releases them back to work but they choose not to return.
If you believe that you were fired because you filed a Workers’ Compensation claim, you may have a legal case against your employer for wrongful termination. If someone is collecting Workers’ Compensation, it is because they are partially disabled due to a workplace injury. However, for an individual to receive unemployment compensation, they would still need to prove that they are actively seeking a new job and could work given the circumstances.
For individuals who are partially disabled, it begs the question of whether you could withstand what a job demands and, therefore, would not be able to receive unemployment compensation. However, if you can say that there is still some form of work that can suit you and your physical injuries, you can still collect unemployment benefits. When it comes to unemployment benefits, it is treated as work income, thereby reducing your Workers’ Compensation income by one dollar for each dollar of unemployment benefits received.
If you or a loved one was injured on the job and has questions concerning your Workers’ Compensation benefits, you deserve an Allegheny County Workers’ Compensation lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. who understands the law and will fight for you. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 412-765-1888 today. Located in Pittsburgh, we serve clients throughout Allegheny County, Lawrence County, Washington County, and Western Pennsylvania.