If you sustained an injury at your job, in most cases, filing for workers’ compensation provides your only recourse. In California, employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. When an employee gets hurt, workers’ compensation benefits can cover medical treatment, lost wages and disability. On the other hand, you would not be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Some employers dislike when employees file claims, as that can affect how much the company pays for insurance. California law forbids employers from firing or otherwise treating unfairly employees who file a workers’ comp claim.
Type of forbidden discrimination
Sometimes, employers may try to spin their discrimination as consequences if an employee misses work or suffers from reduced capacity. However, they may not penalize you if you cannot do your job because of your injury or if you have to work less due to a disability.
Termination is not the only form of unlawful discrimination. Other actions such as demoting, reducing pay or denying opportunities can also count. While applying a company-wide policy would not fall into this category, selective or stricter application just for the one worker who filed a claim might be unlawful.
The law protects your rights
Most employers do tend to be aware of the law and understand that they may not discriminate against you for filing for worker’ compensation benefits. If you have concerns, be sure to discuss them with your attorney.
Address concerns promptly
People who worry about potential employment consequences may delay filing their claims. This can jeopardize your ability to receive benefits, as the workers’ compensation process runs on a strict timeline and demands compliance with an array of formal requirements.
Filing your claim on time
You do not want to give up on what may be your only option to get coverage for the treatments you may need and to make up for any lost wages. If you become disabled as a result of your injury, you may also need to rely on these benefits long term. Remember that, in most cases, you may not have the alternative option of receiving compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
If you have a work-related injury, a qualified worker’ compensation attorney can help you seek the benefits you need. Be sure to discuss any concerns you have so that you can fully understand your options.