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If you have sustained a workplace injury or illness, you will likely be entitled to various types of compensation through the state’s workers’ compensation system. However, can an employer fire you while your workers’ compensation claim is ongoing or while you are receiving benefits for a workplace injury?
The answer to this question is, yes, an employer can terminate your employment after you sustain a workplace injury, but there are caveats. The termination cannot be done in retaliation for sustaining an injury or reporting the incident to workers’ comp.
The workers’ compensation system in California is robust, and individuals should be able to receive money for their medical bills and lost wages if they sustain an on-the-job injury or illness. This is a no-fault system, so it does not matter who caused the injury.
Like most other states around the country, California is an at-will employment state. This means that employers do not have to provide any justification for their reason to terminate employment, and employees are free to leave anytime they want. There are exceptions to that.
Employers cannot terminate individuals if doing so constitutes discrimination or harassment, and they cannot violate state or federal law when terminating individuals. This includes retaliation for sustaining a workplace injury or for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
However, an employer can terminate an individual’s employment, even if they have sustained a workplace injury and filed a workers’ compensation claim. In these situations, the firing may or may not have to do with the injury, and there is nothing to keep the employer from saying that they had another reason for terminating the employment.
If you have been terminated from your job after filing a work injury claim, it is important for you to speak to a skilled California employment lawyer as soon as possible. These cases can be tricky because determining the exact reason for the termination can be challenging.
If you believe that you have been retaliated against for sustaining a workplace injury or filing a workers’ compensation claim, an attorney will get to work conducting a complete investigation into the incident. Not only will they investigate the initial injury, but they will look at your performance reviews, promotion and pay history, and other employment records to determine whether or not you were termination was justified. If necessary, a personal injury attorney will file a wrongful termination lawsuit and begin taking depositions from coworkers and supervisors to determine exactly what happened.
If it turns out that you have been wrongfully terminated as a result of a workplace injury or filing a claim, you may be entitled to various types of compensation. This can include any wages you would have been paid had you not been terminated as well as interest on those unpaid wages. In some cases, it may be beneficial to ask for reinstatement to a position, but this may not be feasible in some situations.
If you have any questions about whether or not your wrongful termination claim is viable, contact an attorney for a full evaluation of your case immediately.