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Changes in New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law

If you work for a company, are injured on the job, and file for Workers’ Compensation, did you know that if you don’t regain the ability to perform your former job, the company can terminate you? Even though you were doing work for the company while sustaining injury?

Well, that was then. This is now. At least in New Jersey.

On September 24, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law an amendment to the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act. If you work for a company that has 50 people or more, are injured on the job, and have achieved the maximum rehabilitation possible, your employer now must give you a hiring preference if you cannot perform your previous job as required. While employers are not required to create a new position for the employee, the law also does not impact the right of an individual with a disability to a reasonable accommodation under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

There are still many unanswered questions regarding the new law. For example, employers must walk a fine line to ensure that they don’t discriminate against other job applicants on the basis of any protected trait when providing this hiring preference. On the employee side, there is no clear guidance as to what avenues are available to the employee if an employer fails to comply with the law. It is silent on whether the employee may sue the employer.

We all want to provide and participate in a safe working environment. If you are an employee who feels they have been a victim of this amended law or if you are employer trying to determine how this law impacts your business, contact the attorneys at Leonard Sciolla who can help you navigate the ramifications of this amended law in New Jersey.

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