Nobody wants to suffer a work injury, even if they know in advance that the workers’ compensation system will fully compensate them for it. The real danger, especially for workers with little savings, is losing your job before you have even recovered from a work-related injury. You need to know the law in this area, because a mistake could put you in a very difficult position. Can You Lose Your Job While on Workers Comp? The answer to the question, Can you lose your job while on workers comp? is yes, but consequences will ensue for both you and your employer. These consequences vary, from favorable to unfavorable, depending on exactly how you lose your job and why. Your options are very different depending on whether you quit voluntarily or whether your employer fired you or laid you off. Quitting Your Job Voluntarily You should typically not quit your job while receiving temporary workers’ compensation benefits. If you do, you may lose some of your benefits. While you would continue to receive compensation for your medical care, quitting is likely to affect your right to temporary income replacement benefits. Therefore, it is generally advisable to stay with your current job until your temporary disability benefits run out. Nevertheless, your workers’ compensation attorney can provide specific advice for your individual circumstances. Quitting for Good Cause Of course, you might have good reasons for wanting to quit. You might quit for valid but independent reasons (racial discrimination, for example), or you might want to quit because your employer harassed you over your workers’ compensation claim. Regardless of the reason, however, consult with an attorney before quitting while receiving income benefits. Exception: Quitting in Response to Permanent Total Disability If you are receiving permanent total, rather than temporary benefits, you can quit your job without risking your benefits. In fact, under these circumstances continuing to work would cast doubt upon your eligibility for total disability benefits. Involuntary Departure Temporary workers’ compensation benefits are supposed to tide you over until you are healthy enough to return to your job. The system doesn’t work very well, however, if you have no job to go back to once you regain your health. If Your Employer Fired You Can your employer fire you after you suffer a work injury or while you are receiving temporary workers’ compensation benefits? Yes, as long as the reasons for firing you had nothing to do with your workers’ compensation claim. Your employer can still fire you for general incompetence, absenteeism, a reduction in force, or other legal reasons. Retaliatory discharge Your employer cannot legally fire you for simply suffering an injury or for filing a workers’ compensation claim. That is known as retaliatory discharge, and you can file a lawsuit over it. One gray area is when your employer fires you for violating a safety rule, which violation led to the accident for which you are claiming compensation. Strictly speaking, such a discharge is not illegal, but it is likely to trigger greater scrutiny by courts and regulatory authorities. If Your Employer Laid You Off Employers typically do not like workers’ compensation claims because they cost the company money. Nevertheless, it is generally illegal to discharge you in retaliation for filing a temporary workers’ compensation claim. One loophole in this prohibition, however, is laying you off for reasons that have nothing to do with your workers’ compensation claim. Your employer can lay you off as long as they can demonstrate legitimate business reasons for doing so. Retaliatory discharge disguised as an innocent layoff Might an employer “lay off” an employer as a form of disguised retaliatory discharge? One red flag is when, strangely enough, only your position is being downsized (or your position plus other positions held by employees who filed workers’ comp claims). This happens all too often, unfortunately一especially if the employee does not have a workers’ compensation lawyer. You can fight back, however, if this happens, by exposing the real reasons for your “layoff.” Can Your Employer Fire You for Hiring a Workers’ Comp Lawyer? The short answer to this question is no. Your employer cannot legally fire you for hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer. Of course, the same caveat that was mentioned above applies here as well. Your employer might try to get away with firing you for hiring a lawyer, if they can disguise the true reasons for it. That is why it is important for you to hire a reputable attorney with a good track record. Once you do this, your employer is less likely to fire you than if you didn’t hire a lawyer. That’s because a good lawyer will see right through this ruse and will know just how to expose your employer for retaliatory discharge. Time Matters! Contact Us Today The sooner after your discharge that you retain a lawyer, the better chance you will have for a favorable resolution. If your employer discharged you after you filed a workers’ compensation claim, take action. Contact Minnesota workers’ compensation law firm Arechigo & Stokka immediately. We understand the Minnesota criminal justice system backward and forward. In fact, we enjoy working relationships with many lawyers and judges. Contact us online or call us at 651-222-6603 for a free initial consultation on your case.Read More
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"I reached out to John Arechigo about a case I had and John was outstanding. He made the process very easy for a person who does not know how the process work, and accomplished the goal I wanted. My experience was very positive and I would highly recommend John to anyone who need to have their case looked into or dismiss. Would definitely reach out to John if ever a problem should arise for any future help."- J Thao
"Best Attorney in MN! Thank you to Mr. John Arechigo and everyone at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A for the exceptional job they did with our case. Because of their professional knowledge, dedicated efforts, hard work, and compassion, we got the outcome that we needed. If you ever need an exceptional attorney for any sort of civil forfeiture, John Arechigo of Arechigo & Stokka, PA is the only law firm I would call. We are grateful and thankful for all they have done to help us get our property back."- Monica K
"The legal expertise provided by John was nothing less than exceptional. When a sibling of mine was facing multiple serious felonies and in dire need of top-notch representation, John was the man. In and out of the court room, he's knowledge and professional are second to none. Throughout the case, he restored hope into our family. He delivered as he stated, and now we have our family back together. This man is worth every penny, he gets the job done. "- Safi Khalif
"I have been a client of Arechigo & Stokka for nearly a decade. They provide exceptional legal representation and maintain good working relationships with various judges and prosecuting attorneys in the Twin Cities area. They are well versed in the current laws which are continually changing. This allows them to quickly adapt, if needed, in order to offer the best legal strategy possible for a given case. Arechigo & Stokka treat each case with the utmost importance, work promptly to advocate for their clients’ needs, and communicate openly with each regarding the status of their particular case."- Abigail Peterson
"John Arechigo is an absolute miracle worker. My friends and I have used him multiple times. Extremely knowledgeable and a wizard in the court room. John always answers his phone and will be with you every step of the way through the legal process. Highly recommended!"- Bryan Larson
"John was a true professional. He listened to and understood all of my questions, and he always provided a quick and thorough response. If I ever find myself in another situation where a lawyer is necessary, I will not hesitate for a second to call him!"- Mack Ziemer
"While facing some serious felony level charges that would have potentially put me away for awhile, John's legal expertise proved otherwise. He was very coherent, competent, and consistent in fulfilling his duties throughout the entire process. His constant communication and knowledge about the law kept me at ease, knowing that I had one of the best defense attorneys in MN on my team."- Mubashir Jeilani
"John is professional, extremely knowledgeable and empathetic. He always answered any questions I had in a timely matter and I felt that he was truly invested in my case from start to finish. I would highly recommend him and his firm."- Ted Spiess
From The Blog
On-the-job injuries can be devastating to one’s finances and sense of wellbeing. Injured employees face an uncertain future with respect to their ability to maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed before the injury. This uncertainty is compounded when the injured employee seeks to embark on a new career or maintain a second job they worked before the accident. While a second job may have helped the injured employee make ends meet before the accident, it may pose complications in the midst of a workers’ compensation claim. Many disabled employees express concern about how a second job will impact their benefits. In general, the answer depends on your circumstances, in particular, whether the injured employee had the second job before the accident and the demands of the second job. What Is the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act? Prior to 1913, employees in Minnesota lacked any remedy for work-related injuries outside of the tort system. Under the scheme, disabled employees had to show fault on the part of their employer before they could recover benefits. Tort cases typically took a significant amount of time to work their way through their court system. This left injured employees without compensation at a time when they and their families needed it the most. In response to this flawed system, the Minnesota legislature passed the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act (MWCA). If injured on the job, the Act provides employees with full compensation for medical bills and partial compensation for lost wages. The MWCA covers injured workers for permanent disabilities and decreased earning potential. Can I Get a Second Job While Collecting Benefits? Typically, the answer is no. Injured employees must keep in mind that a second job may not be in their best interests if they are collecting wage benefits. This is the case whether your injury prevents you from working your past job in the short-term, long-term, or permanently. Workers receive workers’ compensation benefits because they are injured and are unable to perform the job duties they once performed. If an injured employee is physically capable of working a second job, the current amount of their benefits may be deemed unnecessary. In such a case, the employer may seek to reduce or terminate the benefits completely. What If I Had a Second Job Before the Injury and Can’t Perform the Job Now? If you had a second job with another employer at the time of your injury, your workers’ comp benefits may encompass the second income. If you had a part-time job on the date you sustained the injury, you may be entitled to extra benefits. This is the case when the injury prevents you from working the part-time job. The amount of the benefits may be calculated from the total income you would usually receive from both jobs combined. What If I Had a Second Job Before the Injury and Can Perform the Job Now? Injured employees often ask this question when dealing with the issue of working a second job while disabled. It is often the case that the second job may require less physical labor or entail shorter hours. It may even be in a completely different industry and require different skill sets. The primary employer or their insurance company is likely going to take notice when an injured employee asserts that they are unable to perform their primary job but are capable of working a second. They very well may seek to adjust the benefits they are paying out to compensate for the additional income. In fact, your ability to do your second job may adversely impact the successfulness of your claim. Injured employees wanting to preserve their second job must keep in mind that there is a risk their employer or the employer’s insurance company may use it against them. They may avoid paying wage benefits based on your income from the second job. Or they may claim that the responsibilities of your second job evidence your ability to perform the primary job. In this situation, your benefits may be cut altogether. Get Professional Help with Your Workers’ Comp Case Disabled employees eager to embark on a new career after their accident must consider the applicable law and risk to their personal finances. Accepting a new job while on workers’ comp may result in the reduction if not cancelation of your benefits. Navigating Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law can be complex and overwhelming. Whether it be filing claims or appealing decisions to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, the attorneys at Arechigo and Stokka are committed to understanding your unique circumstances and goals. Contact us today for a free consultation.Read More
Do you have a charge for violating the minor consumption law in Minnesota? You may be wondering how serious your charges are and what kinds of penalties you are facing. Or maybe you are a parent and want to know if you could get in trouble for letting your child consume alcohol. Perhaps you’re a bartender that worries about accidentally serving alcohol to a minor. Could you be in trouble? Today we are going to answer those questions for you. Minor Consumption in Minnesota Under Minnesota’s minor consumption law, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess, consume, or attempt to purchase alcohol. For purposes of this law, someone is not legally 21 until 8:00 am on the morning of their 21st birthday. It is also illegal for someone under the age of 21 to misrepresent their age to try to purchase alcohol. To buy alcohol, someone must have a valid, government-issued identification, i.e., a driver’s license or permit, passport, or military ID. Violations are misdemeanors, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. If you’re under 21, the mandatory minimum fine is $100. You could also lose your driving privileges for 90 days for using an ID that isn’t yours. You must appear in court for these charges. As an adult, you may not serve or sell alcohol to a minor, give a minor your ID, or persuade them to purchase alcohol. If you violate this law, you are legally responsible for any damages caused by the intoxicated minor. If the minor dies or is greatly injured, you could face a felony charge. Minor Consumption Defenses and Exceptions Minnesota does allow some very narrow exceptions to the minor consumption law. People under 21 may drink alcohol in their parent’s or guardian’s home with that person’s express consent. However, the defendant must raise this defense to the court themselves. They must then prove it by a preponderance of the evidence. The law also allows room for people who unknowingly sell alcohol to a minor because they relied on the minor’s false identification card. Generally speaking, if you could not have known the person was underage the State will not charge you with a crime. Another interesting exception involves schooling. In Minnesota, it is not illegal for a minor to buy alcohol for research or educational purposes as long as adult supervision is involved. However, the state liquor licensing authority must be notified beforehand. Finally, there is an exception for emergency situations. A minor will not be prosecuted if they consumed alcohol or it is in their possession and they need to call 911. However, they must stay on the scene and cooperate with the authorities. Underage Drinking and Driving in Minnesota It is illegal in Minnesota for anyone under 21 to operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. The law is very strict—minors cannot legally drive with any amount of alcohol in their blood whatsoever. The underage drinking and driving offense is commonly referred to as Minnesota’s Not-a-Drop law. If a minor is caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level under .08 percent, their driving license will be suspended for 30 days minimum. For a second offense, the license suspension is for 180 days. There is also a high fine, and their insurance premiums will likely increase. Violations of this law are misdemeanors. If the minor’s BAC level is .08 percent or higher, the violation is underage driving while impaired (DWI). Violations of this law involve full DWI license suspensions, regardless of age. For minors under 21, the minimum suspension is 180 days, but can extend up to a year for a first offense. Driving while impaired is a misdemeanor. However, if your BAC is 0.16 percent or over, or it is your second or third offense within 10 years, DWI becomes a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail plus a $3000 fine on top of any license suspension. And regardless of age, you have to go to adult criminal court to fight a DWI charge, not juvenile court. If you end up with a DWI conviction, the charge stays on your driving record for 15 years. If You Are Facing a Minor Consumption Charge in Minnesota, Call Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka Misdemeanor or DWI convictions can cause problems for you beyond the inconvenience of having to go to court, pay fines, and deal with possible jail time. You could end up with a criminal record or a suspended driver’s license. This could then complicate your job, school, and personal life in a number of negative ways. Therefore, it’s essential that you work with an experienced attorney to protect your rights and interests. Arechigo & Stokka is a two-attorney law firm with decades of experience based out of St. Paul, Minnesota. Whether you have a criminal defense, DWI, or workers’ compensation case, Arechigo & Stokka has the experience and courage your case deserves in the courtroom. Go to our website to read more about our successful results and client testimonials. Contact us today to discuss your legal matter and learn how we can assist you.Read More