It Is Illegal To Be Fired Or Discriminated Against For Filing A California Workers’ Compensation Claim
The California workers’ compensation system has many laws in place to protect the rights of injured workers. In addition to the ability to receive compensation for a work-related injury, the law also protects the injured worker from discrimination or retaliation for asserting rights under the law. Knowing how to protect and assert your rights can be complicated, however, and professional legal assistance is often required. In Los Angeles, the California workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Sef Krell in Encino are passionate advocates for workers’ rights. Our lawyers have a thorough knowledge and understanding of California workers’ compensation law and make sure that your rights are protected throughout the process of obtaining compensation for an on-the-job injury or illness.
California’s Strong Anti-Discrimination Statute
California has a strong law on the books prohibiting discrimination or retaliation against an employee who asserts rights under California workers’ compensation law. This law, California Labor Code section 132a, makes it a crime for an employer to fire, threaten to fire, or in any manner discriminate against an employee for filing or intending to file a workers’ compensation claim, or because the employee filed an application for adjudication or received any type of rating, award or settlement. Not only is the employer guilty of a misdemeanor, but the law directs that the employee’s compensation shall be increased by one-half, up to $10,000, along with costs and expenses up to $250. In addition, if the worker was fired, the employee is entitled to reinstatement and back pay for lost wages and benefits.
Once you assert a valid claim, the burden falls on the employer to prove that its actions were either nondiscriminatory or were justified by business necessity. Nevertheless, meeting your legal burden as a plaintiff or claimant can still be quite complicated. This fact is even acknowledged by the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) in its Information & Assistance guide. Regarding section 132a claims, the guide states that “Employer discrimination can be very difficult to prove. Because of the technical nature of this petition, you may need legal advice.”
Help is Available for Your California Workers’ Compensation Discrimination Claim
In order to pursue a discrimination claim, you must have a case pending with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB), meaning you should have filed an application for adjudication of your claim. It is also important to note that a section 132a claim for workers’ compensation discrimination or retaliation must be filed within one year from the date of the firing or other discriminatory act. At the Law Offices of Sef Krell, we are experienced in all workers’ compensation matters and can take the steps necessary to make sure your rights are protected. In Los Angeles and Southern California, contact the Law Offices of Sef Krell in Encino to discuss your claim with an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney.