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Friday, August 2, 2019

Can I File a Retaliation Claim Even If I Am Denied Workers' Compensation Benefits?

Yes, if your employer discriminated in any manner against you because you attempted to file a claim for benefits, even if you are denied benefits, you may file a claim for unlawful retaliation. A NJ Workers’ Compensation Retaliation claim may be filed in State Court. New Jersey employers are strictly prohibited from retaliating against a worker for filing or attempting to file a claim for Workers' Compensation benefits.

In its anti-retaliation provision, N.J.S.A. 34:15-39.1, the NJ Worker's Compensation Statute allows a prevailing party to recover economic losses and compensatory damages for a retaliatory discharge even when the claimant was denied Workers' Compensation. For a Workers' Compensation Retaliation claim in New Jersey, a Plaintiff must prove two things: First: That the employee made or attempted to make a claim for workers' compensation; and Second: That the employee was discharged in retaliation for making or attempting to make that claim.

The employer also may not retaliate against you for testifying in any proceeding under that chapter. The language of the relevant section of the statute states in part:

§ 34:15-39.1. Unlawful discharge of, or discrimination against, employee claiming compensation benefits; penalty

It shall be unlawful for any employer or his duly authorized agent to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee as to his employment because such employee has claimed or attempted to claim workmen's compensation benefits from such employer, or because he has testified, or is about to testify, in any proceeding under the chapter to which this act is a supplement.

A NJ employer has a right to fire an at will employee for any reason that does not violate public policy, and the enactment of Workers' Compensation legislation is founded in NJ’s public policy that is an exception to the at will doctrine.

The NJ legislature in drafting the statue, sought a remedial goal having the specific purpose to insure that employees who suffer employment sustained injuries, will be compensated (albeit, not always fully) for their losses and the employee should not be made to pay the entire cost of the injury sustained as a result of their employment.

The anti-retaliation provision is essential to fulfill the remedial purpose the statute, because if an employer could discharge or discriminate against an employee for attempting to file a claim,  then the employer's retaliatory conduct would have a chilling effect and a serious potential for negating the remedial purpose of the statute.

DO NOT SIT ON YOUR RIGHTS!

Do not sit on your rights, or you may lose the right to file your claim!

If you have been demoted, had your hours cut, terminated, harassed or been subjected to retaliation for because you filed or attempted to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, or for reporting what you believe is your employer’s illegal conduct, you should contact this law firm as soon as possible. I am an experienced, aggressive and compassionate employment attorney who will be aggressive about enforcing your rights.  I am successful in bringing retaliation lawsuits against governmental entities and private employers and recovering money for workers.

If you are being subjected to such unlawful retaliation,contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation. I accept retaliation and discrimination cases from all over New Jersey.

New Jersey employment attorney, Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout the state, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.



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