Should you resign from your job after a work injury?
Resigning is generally a bad idea.
My employer wants me to resign after I've been injured. Should I?Generally, it is not a good idea to resign after you've been injured on the job.
Resigning from your job after a work injury may jeopardize your entitlement to temporary disability benefits. It works like this: If you have been injured and have work restrictions at a time when your condition has not medically plateaued, resigning may in some instances prevent you from being able to claim an entitlement to temporary disability which is meant to compensate you for wages lost due to your injury. The insurance carrier will argue that but for your resignation, your former employer would have provided modified work, and that your resignation should therefore preclude you from any entitlement to temporary disability since you, by resigning, caused your own wage loss. In reality, your employer may not have modified work for you, but once you've resigned and have no contact with the workplace, it will be difficult to disprove that modified work is available.
An employer's termination of a employee may, depending on the circumstances, subject the employer to civil liability for wrongful termination and discrimination. Employers do not want to terminate employees, especially those who have been injured on the job.
Your employment relationship with your employer is valuable for a number of different reasons, and it should not be hastily abandoned just because your employer wants to get rid of you. If you are asked to resign after suffering a work injury, you should immediately consult with a workers' compensation attorney to discuss your situation.
What about a severance package?Most severance agreements (which are invariably one-sided) contain waivers of civil and administrative claims and allow for the award of attorney's fees to the employer if a dispute regarding the meaning of the severance agreement ever needs to be litigated.
If there is a subsequent dispute as to whether particular types of claims that can be made in a workers' compensation case fall within the types of claims waived in a severance package, you may be faced with litigation should you later choose to pursue such certain claims in your workers' compensation case. Your former employer may not win its argument, but you may have to incur the cost of hiring an attorney to defend yourself.
Further, if you sign a severance agreement, you will likely be waiving any rights to sue your employer for any number of civil claims you might have a result of your employment relationship. The potential value of these claims may far exceed what your employer is offering in a severance package. If you have any such potential claims, you should speak with an attorney before you consider severing your relationship with your employer.
Know that your rights to workers' compensation benefits can only be settled after approval by a judge at the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. At the same time, also know that a severance agreement is a contract between you and your employer, and that the agreement is not reviewed by a judge for fairness before it becomes binding. It may be tempting to take the money your employer's offering, but you should always consider all of your options before signing away your rights.
Consult with an attorney before you make any decisions regarding your employment status.