Under California law, you are protected from unlawful retaliation. California law states that “there should not be discrimination against workers who are injured in the course and scope of their employment.” Thus, it is illegal for an employer to fire you or threaten to fire you because you claimed compensation for a workplace accident.
Your employer is not allowed to discharge you even if you have only announced your intent to file a worker’s compensation claim. Even your co-employees who are willing to testify are also protected from retaliation. Employers that practice unlawful retaliation may pay a penalty to the discriminated employee. It consists of a 50% increase in the employee’s worker’s compensation award but should not be more than $10,000.
However, you should also know that employers are not required to keep your job open. This means that an employer can let you go as long as the reason is not your injury or the fact that you filed a workers’ compensation claim. For example, an employer can terminate your employment if they need to lay off due to financial problems or company restructuring.
If you think that you are being discriminated because of your work accident claim, it is best to consult with workers’ compensation lawyer. A lawyer will make sure that your rights are protected and will guide you to the best steps possible.