Millions of workplace accidents occur across the country every year. While most affected workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits after such accidents, not everyone claims them for various reasons. Among them is the fear of getting fired or dealing with employer retaliation after filing a claim.
The truth is that you cannot get fired just because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. If your employer dismissed you for that, it could be considered an unlawful termination. However, keep in mind that your employer can fire you for valid reasons unrelated to your claim without facing any legal consequences.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is a protected activity
California’s Labor Code prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees who file or intend to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer cannot demote you, reduce your salary or require you to use your leave days for medical appointments after a workplace accident. Other forms of employer retaliation are also outlawed.
If your employer discharges or discriminates against you for filing workers’ compensation benefits, you may be entitled to:
- Increased workers’ compensation benefits of up to $10,000
- Reinstatement to your job
- The wages you lost after the illegal dismissal.
However, you only have one year to take action against such employer retaliation.
Know your rights as an injured worker
The law also protects undocumented workers who are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, just like anyone else. Understanding your legal rights and what to expect during the workers’ compensation claims process will help you get through everything smoothly and protect your interests.