Each year, tens of thousands of workers are hurt on the job in California. If you were hurt on the job, you have the right to file for workers’ comp benefits. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for doing so. Your rights were violated if you were punished for filing for work injury benefits. In this article, our Fresno workers’ compensation attorney provides an overview of your rights if you were fired, laid off, or otherwise terminated after filing for workers’ comp benefits in California.
Under California law (California Labor Code § 132(a)), all employees are entitled to protected against “discrimination” based on being “injured in the course and scope of their employment.” LC 132(a)(1) clearly holds that a company or organization that discharges an employee because of a work injury has violated the law and can be held liable for retaliation.
If you were fired or laid off because you were hurt on the job in California, you have the right to file a retaliation lawsuit against your employer. Depending on the specific circumstances, you may be entitled to any of the following legal remedies:
- A Workers’ Comp Surcharge: You can and should seek the full workers’ comp benefits that you have under California law. Beyond that, victims of workers’ comp retaliation can claim an additional award of 50% of the value of their case up to $10,000.
- Compensation for Back Pay: The loss of a job can put a serious financial strain on a worker and their family. An employee in Fresno who was unlawfully terminated in retaliation for filing for workers’ comp benefits can seek compensation for full pay back.
- Attorneys’ Fees and Legal Costs: Through an LC 132(a) workers’ comp retaliation claim, an employee who was unlawfully discharged can claim compensation for certain other out-of-pocket expenses, including attorneys’ fees and court costs.
For workers, it is important to understand that proving that you filed for workers’ comp benefits and were subsequently terminated is not enough to prove an LC 132(a) violation. While a close connection between the two does often suggest retaliation, establishing liability requires proving that you were fired because you exercised your legally protected right to file for workers’ comp. An experienced Fresno workers’ comp lawyer can review your case and help you gather and organize all of the evidence that you will need to prove retaliatory discharge.
As an experienced workers’ comp lawyer in California, Joseph C. Yrulegui has a deep understanding of the state’s anti-retaliation provisions. If you or your family member was fired after filing for workers’ comp benefits in Fresno County, you need a skilled legal advocate on your side. Contact us today to schedule a completely confidential initial consultation with a workers’ comp lawyer.