Skip to main content

Can I be terminated from my job of 15 years?

Lancaster, PA |

I had knee surgery in June 2011. Returned to work in July. The employee health center my job uses have me restrictions. My jobs policy is you can only work 6 months on restrictions. I went to my orthopedic dr and got full clearance to do my work but the employee health dr refuses to release me. Do I have a case?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 5


Your scenario raises a number of issues.

First, from a workers' compensation perspective, you absolutely have a case. If your employer terminates you while you are still subject to restrictions, it must pay you continuing workers' compensation benefits until you finally return to work with a new employer, or until it can convince a judge that you should have returned to work.

Second, you ask if your employer can terminate you. The answer is probably, but it will depend on a number of facts. For example, are you a member of a union? Is your employer covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (the "ADA") in which case, it is possible that terminating you would violate the ADA).

You should promptly consult an attorney who is experienced in handling workers' compensation cases.

This response given is not intended to create and does not create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. It also does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. It is based upon the limited facts provided by the posted question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response may change. I am licensed to practice law only in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Responses are based solely on Pennsylvania law unless stated otherwise.


You have a case.If the employee health doctor refuses to release you
the workers compensation insurance company should put you back on
workers comp benefits. If the employer takes away your light duty job
you can protect your job for a period of time my requesting FMLA.

Alfred J. Carlson, Esq.

1818 Market Street, 35th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

p: 215.587.8400 f: 215.587.8417

Please consider the planet before printing this e-mail.

Note: The information contained in this message and any attachment is
confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this
message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent
responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you
are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of
this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this
communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by replying
to the message, and please delete it from your system.


As stated by the other responders, if your knee surgery is related to a work injury, which is not clear from your post, you have a potential workers' compensation claim. If you are let go from your employment while under work restrictions for this injury, you enjoy a presumption that your loss of earnings is caused by the injury resulting in a claim for wage loss benefits. If your knee surgery is not related to a work injury, workers' compensation would not apply.

As to job security, Pennsylvania is an employment at will state. Employer's may fire employees with or without cause just not for bad cause. A contract may provide additional job security, and you may have additional rights under the FMLA or ADA as indicated by the other posters.

I would also suggest that you contact a local attorney to review your particular situation and the options available to you.

Timothy D. Belt, Esquire Helping injured workers in Northeast Pennsylvania. DISCLAIMER: This post is intended as general information applicable only to the state of Pennsylvania. The information given is based strictly upon the facts provided. This post is not intended to create an attorney client relationship, or to provide any specific guarantee of confidentiality.


All good answers. If the knee surgery was work related then you have a WC claim. If not and then let you go, you may have another claim. My gut feeling is that you have a work injury, your employer does not trust your doctor's full duty release (they are concerned about you having a recurrence of your work injury if you were to return to work full duty) and your employer would prefer to replace you with someone else. That being said, you need to get legal advise as to what to do in light of the specifics of your claim. Best of luck to you!


If your employer will not allow you to return to work because according to the occupational health department, you are not fit to work without restrictions, they should be voluntarily paying you total disability benefits under the Workers Compensation Act. If they don't do so voluntarily then a petition for reinstatement should be filed by an attorney on your behalf.

Employment topics

Recommended articles about Employment

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer