If you’ve suffered a work injury or an occupational illness and filed a claim for workers’ compensation as a result, you might understandably be eager to get back to work. You might be able to return to the job you had prior to your work-related injury or illness, or you may need to seek new employment. However, you might be worried about whether the fact that you’ve filed a workers’ compensation claim might impact your ability to return to work or your future employment.

In short, receiving workers’ compensation benefits should not impact your future employment. If you’ve been injured on the job or suffered an occupational illness, you need to familiarize yourself with your rights under state and federal labor laws.

Read more: Does My Injury Qualify For Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Comp Disability Classification

Under the workers’ compensation system, a worker who is disabled from performing their pre-injury/illness duties may receive one of four disability classifications:

  • Temporary partial disability
  • Temporary total disability
  • Permanent partial disability
  • Permanent total disability

However, these classifications should not have any effect on your ability to seek employment once you’ve reached maximum medical improvement for your work injury or illness. Instead, these classifications are only used to determine the level of injury or disability you have suffered, how it affects your ability to work, and what kinds of financial benefits you may be entitled to. 

Modified Work or Alternative Positions

If an employee is receiving workers’ compensation benefits, they may soon return to employment in a modified work position or in an alternative position. Modified work means that the hours and/or duties that an employee has have been modified from what they were performing prior to their work injury or illness. Hours and duties get modified in accordance with the worker’s physical limitations as determined by their treating physician. 

If an employee cannot perform the work required by the employee in a modified work role, the employer may choose to offer an alternative position within the company that is consistent with the worker’s limitations. 

If you earn less income in a modified work or alternative position, workers’ compensation benefits can include payments to help make up the difference in your income. 

Labor Law Rights after Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim

If you apply for a new position or promotion with your employer or for a new job with a new employer, your workers’ compensation claim should have no effect on the employer’s consideration of your application. In addition, you have no obligation to disclose that you’ve filed for workers’ compensation in the past. If you are denied a promotion or new job due to having received workers’ compensation, your rights may have been violated, including rights against disability discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination or the federal Americans with Disabilites Act.

It is also against the law for your employer to discipline you or terminate your employment solely because you filed a claim for workers’ compensation. Such action constitutes unlawful retaliation. However, your employer does not have to hold your position open for you indefinitely while you are on workers’ compensation (but may have to hold the position for a certain period under the Family and Medical Leave Act) or to allow you to return to your position if you are physically incapable of performing the duties of the job, including with reasonable accommodation.

Contact a Rochelle Park Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case

A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm, P.A. represent clients in Mahwah, Paramus, Ridgewood, Englewood, and all across New Jersey. Call 201-231-7847 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 340 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ 07662.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.