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Protection from retaliation for a workers' compensation claim

When an employee is injured on the job, he or she is entitled to file a workers' compensation claim in New Jersey. The Workers' Compensation Statute in New Jersey details the law surrounding workers' compensation and includes a provision protecting workers from any retaliation by an employer, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. 

Under the statute, testifying at a hearing or filing a claim cannot be grounds for firing an employee. However, this does not completely protect employees from being fired from their position or losing other employment benefits. The law does not protect against an employer taking away any health benefits while an employee is on medical leave.

If a worker becomes temporarily or permanently disabled due to the accident, then he or she might also be protected under the American with Disabilities Act. This requires demonstrating the termination or other retaliation is based on discriminatory factors and not an impairment to handle the requirements of the job with reasonable accommodation. Additionally, to receive any restoration after filing a complaint after being fired, a worker might be required to be capable of performing the essential duties of the job, with or without accommodation.

An employer cannot fire someone solely for filing a claim, and it is expected that the worker will return once he or she is able. Employees and workers both have responsibilities after a worker returns to work after an injury on the job, according to the Workers' Compensation Institute. An injured worker who has returned to the job must follow the rules of employment, including any health and safety guidelines, just like other employers. Any violation of company policy can result in termination of the employee despite his or her protection under the workers' compensation statute. There might be other actions that could lead to termination that do not fall under this protection as well.

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