Workers’ compensation insurance is crucial for workers who are injured or killed while working. It provides compensation for medical care and the time off they require to heal or helps family members pay for the expenses associated with a loved one's death. A workers’ compensation claim can provide benefits such as medical coverage, income replacement, and other benefits.
When a worker files a workers’ compensation claim, it’s likely that they’re doing so because they need time off from work. Additionally, filing a claim likely means that an employer’s insurance costs will increase. Because of these qualities of a claim, it isn’t unreasonable for a person to fear losing their job or facing retribution for making a claim.
Can You Be Punished for Workers’ Compensation Claims in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania law prohibits employers from firing employees because they filed a workers’ compensation claim or were injured while working. The law also bans employers from retaliating against workers who make a workers’ compensation claim. Likewise, employees can’t be punished for winning a claim, receiving their benefits from a claim, or supporting the claim of another worker.
Signs of retaliation for worker’s compensation claims include:
- Decreased hours
- Making worker harder for other employees
- False claims of negative job performance
- Mistreatment by managers
- Unfavorable shifts
- Increased occurrences of "undesirable" work duties compared to other workers
How Long Does It Take to Get Workers’ Compensation in PA?
While a delayed claim isn’t always a sign of retaliation from an employer, knowing how long a workers’ compensation claim can take is helpful for workers worried about mistreatment. Generally, a worker can expect to receive payments within three weeks of filing a claim. If a workers’ claim is pending, they might be able to receive temporary compensation for up to 90 days during the process. If a worker still hasn’t received compensation after this, they should reach out to an attorney for help.
At-Will Employment in PA: Complicating Retaliation Claims
Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state. Simply put, this means that an employer can use any reason—or lack of one—to terminate a person’s employment. However, employers can only fire workers for reasons that aren’t illegal. For example, an employer can’t fire a worker while citing their work-related injury as a reason. However, an employer can fire an injured worker for other reasons that aren’t banned by the law.
In some instances, employers hide behind Pennsylvania’s at-will employment laws to retaliate against workers. In other words, they’ll fabricate legal reasons to fire someone when they’re really firing them in retaliation for a work-related injury or workers’ compensation claim. When this happens, a worker should contact an attorney for assistance with holding their employer accountable for breaking the law. An attorney will be ready to investigate your situation and help you find the answers needed to move forward.
Will I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Being Fired?
Yes. If a person files a workers’ compensation claim and they’re fired shortly after, Pennsylvania law requires them to still be eligible for benefits. If your former employer seems to be delaying your claim, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer from Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC as soon as possible for assistance.
Call Our PA Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Help Now
If you’re having any issues with your workers’ compensation claim, including problems with retaliation from your employer, call Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC now for help. We’re a law firm that’s been trusted by Pennsylvania since 1922. We’ve helped clients recover tens of millions of dollars and we’re ready to put our experience at work for you.
Importantly, we have an attorney on staff who specializes in workers’ compensation law. Attorney J. Jeffrey Watson is certified as a specialist in the practice of workers' compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Workers' Compensation Law Section as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Calling us today to find out if he can help you is confidential, free, and has no obligations.
Call HHR now for help with your workers’ compensation problems at (888) 498-3023. You deserve the help of a dedicated law firm that's focused on your recovery.