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Employer can't fire a worker for claiming workers' compensation

When a worker is injured on the job in New York City, he or she will be eligible for workers' compensation benefits for any medical care necessary to recover from the injury. If the worker not only receives medical treatment but is also disabled and unable to go back to work for any period of time, then lost wages are paid as per state workers' compensation statutes. It often occurs that the worker remains disabled in the opinion of the treating physician, but in the opinion of the physician retained by the employer, the worker can go back to work immediately.

When that type of dispute arises, the worker will be best served by immediately obtaining a free consultation with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. That will assure that the worker does not lose vital rights by agreeing to something that may be an unfair demand by the employer. In some instances, the foregoing facts may be reversed in a sense.

It may be that the worker wants to get back to work to preserve pension, seniority, insurance and other rights. Whether the accident occurred at work or outside of work, the employer may resist taking the worker back. This is sometimes seen more often when the worker is into middle age or approaching retirement. In that situation, the employer and its insurers can benefit greatly by terminating the older worker.

This happened recently to a 49-year-old sanitation worker for the New York City Sanitation Department. His doctor has permitted him to go back to work, but the city's doctors continue to say he is not recovered from his injury. The worker's accident occurred outside of the workplace, but even where an accident occurs at work, it sometimes becomes a lucrative option for the employer to terminate the worker. Whenever the employer tries to terminate the worker's job due to an injury or due to the worker filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits, it is best to seek professional counsel immediately.  

Source: nydailynews.com, "City sanitation worker on medical leave struggles to persuade the department not to throw his job away", Ginger Adams Otis, April 16, 2017

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