Workers in NJ who are injured at work do not have protected job status. Typically, employers will fill their positions with a replacement just because they are “absent" from work.
The NJ Senate will vote vote on S2998 on June 3, 2021. This bill addressed that issue and requires any employer who has 50 or more employees to provide a hiring preference to an employee who was injured in a work- related injury, has reached maximum medical improvement, and cannot return to the employee’s former position with that employer. The employer is only required to provide the hiring preference if the employee can perform the essential duties of an existing, unfilled position.
The bill does not require an employer to create a new position for the injured employee, nor does it require the employer to remove another employee from an existing but filled position to accommodate the injured employee.
The identical bill was approved by the NJ Assembly 76-0 on May 20. 2021. The NJ Senate SLA Committee reported the bill out favorably on 1/29/20 3-0.
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 firstname.lastname@example.org have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.