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What You Need to Know About Retaliation in California Workers’ Compensation Cases

 Posted on February 02,2023 in Workers' Compensation

CA injury lawyerIn the state of California, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who file workers' compensation claims. This means that employers cannot punish employees for filing a valid, good-faith claim or attempt to discourage employees from filing in the first place. It is important to understand what constitutes retaliation and what legal remedies are available to those who have been subjected to it. If you have recently filed a workers’ compensation claim and you believe that your employer is retaliating against you, an experienced work comp lawyer can help you explore the possibility of taking legal action.

What Is Retaliation?

Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee because the employee has exercised their legal right to file a workers' compensation claim. Adverse actions can range from verbal abuse or threats to physical harm or termination of employment. This type of behavior by employers is illegal and may be subject to criminal and civil penalties, as they can have a significant impact on an employee's ability to earn a living wage and support themselves and their family.. Employers should not retaliate against employees who have filed a workers' compensation claim as it can be considered a form of discrimination.

Examples of Retaliation

The most common example of retaliation is when an employer terminates an employee shortly after they file a workers' compensation claim. This action alone can be enough to constitute retaliation, but there are other less obvious examples as well. For example, if an employer changes an employee's shift schedule to a less favorable schedule without warning after a claim is filed, this could also be interpreted as retaliatory behavior. Similarly, if an employer initiates disciplinary action against an employee for seemingly minor infractions shortly after the employee files a claim, this may also be considered retaliation.

Other examples of retaliation include a reduction of hours unrelated to the employee’s ability to continue working, poor performance reviews that are not in line with previous reviews or the employee’s actual performance, and being subjected to verbal abuse or negative comments about filing the claim.

Penalties for Retaliation

When employers are found guilty of retaliating against employees who have filed workers’ compensation claims, they can face significant penalties under California law. These penalties may include increased liability for lost wages, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, costs associated with bringing the lawsuit, and/or other appropriate relief as determined by the court. You could even be entitled to be reinstated in your job. Additionally, employers may also face criminal penalties including fines and even imprisonment if they engage in retaliatory behavior for valid claims filed in good faith.

Speak With a Santa Clara County Work Comp Retaliation Lawyer

California’s anti-retaliation laws are intentionally slanted toward providing for injured employees. If you have suffered retaliation as the result of filing a workers’ compensation claim, our experienced Gilroy workers’ comp attorneys can help you. Call 408-848-1113 to discuss your case in a free consultation at Cramer + Martinez today.



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