Forcing someone who has experienced a work-related injury to quit or resign from their job is against the law. In the eyes of the law, forced resignation is the same as a termination, and employers cannot terminate employees just because they are injured and claiming Workers’ Compensation benefits.
There are many reasons why an employer might try to force an employee with a work-related injury to resign their position:
Additionally, an employer can avoid paying unemployment benefits if an employee resigns from their job voluntarily. When a worker resigns their position, not only can they not collect unemployment benefits, they also cannot file a wrongful termination lawsuit against their former employer.
Thus, there is plenty of incentive for an unscrupulous employer to try to force an employee with a work injury out.
Constructive discharge is the legal term for a forced resignation. To force someone out, the employer may say outright that if the employee does not resign they will be fired, leaving that person no choice. Alternatively, they may seek to create a hostile work environment. In other words, to make that person’s conditions in the workplace so difficult and intolerable that the employee “chooses” to resign, rather than stay.
Both tactics are considered the same as a termination. If you were constructively discharged from your job, you have legal options for compensation available to you.
Workers’ Compensation covers medical care, wage loss benefits, and offers disability payments for workers who are injured on the job. It is a no-fault system that provides a safety net for employees who need time off to recover from work-related injuries.
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, employers may not retaliate against workers who suffer a work accident and claim Workers’ Compensation benefits for their injuries. This would negate the entire reason for the Workers’ Compensation system.
If you are receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits and feel you have been treated unfairly after your injury, document the situation at your workplace.
Beginning with your injury, write down if you were unable to return to work immediately or if your workload had to be modified. Note how you were treated upon your return to work. If you feel you are the victim of a hostile work environment, document those conditions. Be sure to consult with an experienced Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer who can explain your legal options for compensation.
If you negotiated a compensation settlement agreement that included your resignation, this is generally not considered a forced resignation. In many states, including Pennsylvania, such agreements include the employee’s resignation and courts have upheld them to be non-coercive.
If you are offered a compensation settlement agreement, it is imperative to have a qualified Workers’ Compensation lawyer review it before you sign, in order to ensure the terms of the agreement are in your favor.
If you were forced to resign after claiming Workers’ Compensation benefits for your work injury, the dedicated legal team of Gross & Kenny, LLP can help. Our experienced Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers will help you obtain compensation and hold your employer responsible for your wrongful termination. An initial consultation is free and confidential. Call 267-589-0090 today or contact us online. We are conveniently located in Center City, Philadelphia serving injured workers throughout Pennsylvania.