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I Was Hurt At Work in New Jersey: Can I Be Forced To Quit?

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Your employer may attempt to force you to resign after you sustain a work injury for a variety of reasons. Regardless of their reasons, however, the law views forced resignation the same as a termination. Firing an employee for receiving an injury on the job is unlawful, so you may be eligible to take legal action if this has happened to you.

Forcing an Employee to Quit is the Same as Firing Them

If an employee sustains a work injury and is unable to work for a period of time, employers may try to remove them from their position permanently by forcing them to quit. Perhaps they don’t want to pay the employee unemployment benefits, or maybe they are trying to avoid a wrongful termination claim. Their reasoning behind this is that employees who resign voluntarily are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits or make a wrongful termination claim.

Other times, the employer may not want to accommodate an injured employee’s work restrictions, or they might just find it easier to replace that employee altogether rather than filling their position temporarily. Employers may attempt to remove you from your position by making your working conditions so miserable that any reasonable employee would quit that position. Or they may even state directly that they will fire you if you do not resign on your own.

It’s important to understand that regardless of your employer’s reasons and methods for forcing you to quit, legally this is essentially the same as terminating your employment. It’s unlawful for employers to fire employees due to their inability to work because of a work injury, so you are likely eligible to take legal action against your employer. Forced termination is legally known as constructive discharge, and it may actually be grounds for you to make a wrongful termination claim since, technically, you did not resign voluntarily.

The Purpose of Workers’ Compensation

Employees that sustain a work injury are generally entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The purpose of the workers’ compensation system is to provide employees with a no-fault method of receiving payment for their expenses related to a work injury, including reimbursement for medical expenses and payment for lost wages.

Workers’ compensation provides employees with a safety net in the event that they are injured while they are on the job, so it is illegal for employers to fire employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim or for collecting their workers’ comp benefits. If employers were allowed to simply terminate employees who were injured at work, this would defeat the entire purpose of the workers’ compensation system.

Seek Legal Help if You Were Forced to Quit After a Work Injury

If you were forced to quit your job because you sustained a work-related injury, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney. The Law Offices of Peter Davis of Paterson, New Jersey has a team of professionals trained in workers’ compensation law, and we can help you understand your legal options during this troublesome time. We’ve been serving our community with experienced legal help for almost three decades, and we’re here to represent you and fight for your rights.