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Can filing a workers' compensation claim get you fired?

Many workers who get injured on the job hesitate in filing a workers' compensation claim because they fear that in doing so, they could either be retaliated against or fired. If this describes you, then you'll find comfort in knowing that in California it's illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who files a workers' compensation claim.

While you may feel a sense of relief knowing that you being let go from your job for simply filing a workers' compensation claim is highly unlikely, you'll still want to make sure you follow some basic guidelines to give yourself the best possible chance of your claim being accepted.

Perhaps most important aspect of the workers' compensation claim process is that you not wait too long after you're injured on the job to notify your employer that you've been injured. Most companies have someone in particular appointed to handle worker's compensation claims. Generally the company also has a set protocol you must follow in order to ensure that your claim will be properly handled.

If you fail to report your injury after that filing window has closed or don't follow the necessary procedures in doing so, then your claim may go unpaid.

An employer that tells you that you've waited too long to file a worker's claim or that standard protocol wasn't followed isn't necessarily being retaliatory. Don't assume the worst. Instead, you should follow-up with your employer's in-house representative to see what more you can do to ensure that your claim is properly handled.

If you are successful in filing a workers' compensation claim and you note a shift in your employer's treatment of your afterwards, then this type behavior may indeed be representative of employer retaliation. Shifts in treatment that may raise red flags include sudden job reassignments or an employer beginning to file poor performance reviews against you.

Despite being illegal, many employers are either ill-informed or just simply don't care about the consequences they may face for firing an employee after they report a workplace injury. If you suspect your were fired for filing a workers' compensation claim, then a Modesto injured workers' rights attorney can advise you of your rights and options.

Source: FindLaw, "Can you get fired for filing a worker's compensation claim?," accessed Sep. 21, 2017

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