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Should I Worry About Retaliation for Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim?

 Posted on August 12, 2022 in Workers' Compensation

California workers' comp attorneyOne of the more common reasons that injured workers may avoid filing a Workers’ Compensation claim is a fear of retaliation. Especially in difficult economic circumstances, employees may be very fearful of losing a good job. It may seem preferable to deal with a worksite injury alone, through your own medical insurance rather than risking job loss during the next round of layoffs. However, in California, it is illegal for an employer to fire someone for filing a claim with Workers’ Compensation. Doing so would be a form of wrongful termination, and you could have legal recourse. If a fear of retaliation is keeping you from filing for Workers’ Compensation, our attorneys may be able to help set your mind at ease and get you the funding you need. 

What California Law Says About Retaliation and Workers’ Compensation

Under California state law, your employer cannot fire you - or even threaten to fire you - because you filed a Workers’ Compensation claim or plan to do so. If you make your intention to file a claim known and are threatened with the possibility of losing your job, your employer is breaking the law and could actually be guilty of a criminal misdemeanor. The same is true if your employer actually goes through with firing you. 

Employers will sometimes make up excuses to fire employees who have filed for Workers’ Compensation. For example, they may terminate your employment the second you file a claim and then try to say you were actually fired for being 45 seconds late that one time. This approach is rarely effective - courts are smart enough to see right through the ruse. 

What Recourse Do I Have?

If your employer goes ahead and illegally dismisses you, you have recourse. You can open a case with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board alleging that you were wrongfully terminated in retaliation for seeking compensation for a work injury. 

For one, your compensation can be increased by 50%, up to a $10,000 increase. You may also be entitled to reinstatement to your job, plus compensation for any wages or other benefits you lost during the time you were away. Anti-retaliation laws in California are heavily in favor of the employee and have some teeth. 

Call a Santa Clara County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you have been injured on the job, Cramer + Martinez can help you recover the compensation you need. Our skilled Gilroy Workers’ Compensation attorneys can also take steps to protect you against unlawful retaliation. Call 408-848-1113 for a free consultation. 



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