Q. A replacement line supervisor directed an employee in our plant to use a machine he wasn’t trained to operate. The employee was injured when he stuck his hand into the machine to clear a jam. While the employee was recuperating in the hospital, the plant supervisor fired him for operating machinery he hadn’t been trained on. Does the employee have a right to sue us if the line supervisor ordered him to do this job?
A. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee cannot sue his or her employer for a work-related injury or for negligence in causing the injury. Workers’ compensation is considered to be “no fault.” So, whether the injury was the fault of the employer or the employee, the only benefits available are those provided by workers’ compensation insurance.
There are a few exceptions to this rule—for example, if the employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance as required.
Consult a lawyer who specializes in handling workers’ compensation insurance matters to determine if any exception might permit the employee to bring a lawsuit for his injuries.
Note: The Workers’ Compensation Act does not prevent an employee from suing an employer for other types of claims, such as discrimination,or retaliation for filing for workers’ .