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Can I be fired because of an on-the-job injury?

Being let go from a job is never an easy experience, and almost always the individual who is fired is made to feel that he or she is personally responsible for the event. In reality, however, there are many instances in which the employer is in the wrong for either the way in which they terminated an employee or the grounds for that termination. In many cases, a termination may occur because the employee, through no fault of his or her own, is inconvenient to employ, or presents a financial burden that the employer does not want to meet. The details of each case are different, but many instances of an employee being let go subsequent to an on-the-job injury are grounds for a wrongful termination suit.

Take the case of a township in New Jersey, who in 2016 was ordered to pay damages for just such a wrongful termination suit, after it was determined that they had unfairly fired an emergency medical technician who had been injured while in the line of duty. The EMT was hurt a year earlier, when her back was injured while lifting a patient onto a stretcher. After a short period of working her job with modified responsibilities according to a doctor's orders, the township terminated her employment.

The EMT rightly brought suit against the township, claiming that she was fired merely because she was unable to work at full capacity due to the on-the-job injury. Furthermore, when she had inquired about being transferred to another position rather than be summarily let go, the township refused to consider that option. Ultimately, justice prevailed and the township was ordered by the court to pay damages of nearly $50,000 because of the unlawful firing.

Determining when a wrongful termination has occurred is not always an easy endeavor, and sometimes requires a detailed and nuanced understanding of both federal and state laws that apply to your particular situation. It is important to document your employer's actions throughout the process. An experienced attorney is able to evaluate your experience and help you understand what options you may have to pursue justice, and make sure that your rights remain protected. If you have been wrongfully terminated, there is no need to simply take it lying down — fighting for your rights begins with you.

Source:, "NJ EMT settles wrongful termination suit for $47K," Nov. 30, 2016

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Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

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