Post-Termination Defense Under Labor Code 3600(a)(10): What You Need to Know

Imagine that you fired or laid off an employee. A few months later, you receive notice that the former employee has filed a workerscompensation claimCan they really do that? The short answer is ‘yes’—and it happens far more often than most people realize. At the same time, not all claims filed after termination are compensable. A defense can be raised under California law

Indeed, pursuant to California Labor Code § 3600(a)(10), employers can effectively defend many post-termination workers’ comp claims. That being said, there are some notable exceptions that employees can use to seek coverage. Here, our California workers’ comp defense lawyers explain the most important things to know about post-termination defense under LC 3600(a)(10). 

The General Rule: Employees are Not Entitled to Post-Termination Workers’ Comp Benefits

In California, employers must provide no-fault workers’ comp coverage to their employees. If an employee is hurt on the job, they can recover benefits without proving that the employer was at fault for the accident. Once an employee is separated from their job, they are no longer covered by workers’ comp insurance

In our state, most post-termination workers’ comp claims are governed by Labor Code § 3600(a)(10). The statute holds that there is a general rule that “no compensation shall be paid” after an employee is notified that they are being fired, laid off, or otherwise removed from their position. However, LC 3600(a)(10) also includes for specified exceptions. 

Four Key Exceptions Under California Labor Code § 3600(a)(10)

When an employee files a post-termination workers’ comp claim, they will likely try to rely on one of the exceptions in Labor Code § 3600(a)(10). To effectively defend these claims, employers and claims administrators should understand the exceptions. Here is what you need to know:

It is a Cumulative Trauma Claim and the Technical Onset Date is Early: Post-termination defense and cumulative trauma claims is a complicated matter. In California, the technical “onset” date for cumulative trauma could potentially extend back before the termination date.