Your question raises several issues.
If you were working light duty as a result of a work-related injury, and you were "laid off" for economic reasons, you would be eligible for reinstatement of your Workers Compensation Benefits. Under the factual scenario that you have described, in order to be eligible for reinstatement of your Workers Compensation Benefits, you must show that your loss of wages was due to your injury, and not any misconduct at work.
Regardless of whether or not you are appropriately fired by your employer, you indicate that your work-related injury requires surgery. It could certainly be argued that once you undergo surgery for your work-related injury you would then have a "increase in disability" and be eligible for reinstatement of your benefits as of the date you undergo said surgery.
It is unclear as to why the "workers comp Dr." is no longer treating you do to your "termination." If you still have an "open" claim you are eligible to continue to receive reasonable and necessary medical treatment for your work injury, including but not limited to the above noted surgery. If you have treated with the "panel physicians" for more than 90 days you may be able to seek a "second opinion" with a physician of your own choosing.
It is my recommendation that you immediately contact an attorney experienced in handling Workers Compensation Claims to determine your rights pursuant to the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act, as amended.
Based upon the facts that you have described, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation Benefits, however, you cannot receive both UC and Workers Compensation at the same time. In other words, if you begin to receive UC Benefits, the Workers Compensation Carrier would be eligible for a "credit" towards any Workers Compensation Benefits you would otherwise be entitled to.
Additionally, you may have a cause of action for a "retaliatory firing" and I would recommend that you contact an attorney experienced in handling Employment Law to discuss whether or not you have a "wrongful termination" claim for what appears to be a "retaliatory firing."
With respect to your "hostile work environment" complaint if you have not done so, already, you may need to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and/your EEOC as this type of complaint must be filed within 180 days of the actions that led to your believing you are subjected to a "hostile work environment."
As noted above, it is my recommendation that you immediately contact one or more Attorneys to discuss your rights and possible causes of action relative to your Workers Compensation Claim, possible "wrongful termination" for a "retaliatory firing" and/or your "hostile work environment" cause of action. Please note that most Attorneys will not charge for an initial consultation and most will handle your case on a Contingent Fee basis.
First, if you were still on limited duty due to a work injury, you enjoy a presumption that your current loss of earnings is related to this injury which should result in a reinstatement of both wage loss and medical benefits. If you do not have an attorney for the workers' compensation matter, I would strongly suggest that you meet with one right away.
You may also have a claim for unemployment compensation while the workers' compensation matter is sorted out. This will depend on the reason for your termination, and to the extent that you then receive workers' compensation wage loss benefits, your workers' compensation will be reduced by the amount received in unemployment compensation.
There may also be a discrimination claim if the reason for your termination falls within a protected class. From the information provided, the reason for termination is not completely clear.
Bottom-line, it is time to talk to an attorney. The initial consultation is normally free, so there is no reason for you to delay in seeking legal counsel.
Timothy D. Belt, Esquire Helping injured workers in Northeast Pennsylvania. firstname.lastname@example.org www.belt-law.com 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.
This is Timothy Kolman Esq from Kolman Ely. Obviously, we do not have all the facts of your case but from an employment standpoint you may have been terminated for having filed a worker's compensation claim (which would certainly be a cause of action under Pennsylvania law) and in addition, you may have been discriminated against on the basis of your disability (your knee injury). I think the important thing to know is why you were terminated and that is not something that you mention. Therefore, to properly evaluate this case, more information is required. Further, depending on the nature of your complaint about the co-employee, (if it was on the basis of race, religion, gender, disability, sexual harassment, or age) you may have been terminated on a retaliatory basis after you engaged in 'protected' activity, namely a complaint about discrimination.
There are several potential causes of action here. Most notable is retaliation for filing a workers compensation. You also have a WC claim and an UC claim as other lawyers have mentioned. You may also have a rerlation claim for complaining of discrimination. I would be interested in finding out more about your case to see if I can help you.
Credit Types of personal injuries Work-related personal injuries Criminal charges for harassment Employment Employment law and finances Workers' compensation Unemployment compensation Discrimination in the workplace Hostile work environment Gender discrimination in the workplace Sexual harassment Protections against employer retaliation Termination of employment Wrongful termination of employment Types of employment At-will employment Gender discrimination Discrimination