The workers’ compensation system in California is designed to benefit workers who have been injured while performing their duties as an employee. When it works properly, it offers a quick way for workers to receive medical benefits and lost wages while they recover from their injury. However, some claims can take a significant amount of time if the employer can contest them or if there is a dispute about how much you should receive in benefits.
Regardless of how long your claim takes, your employer is never permitted to terminate your employment for merely filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is illegal.
Unfortunately, some employers ignore the law and may try to end your employment after an accident anyway. There may also be situations where your job may end due to the seriousness of your injury, and it is entirely legal. A workers’ compensation attorney in Los Angeles will be able to help you determine the difference between these two situations.
Your employer cannot fire you just for being injured on the job or filing a workers’ compensation claim. An employer also cannot terminate employment or punish coworkers who may testify on your behalf in a workers’ comp case. This type of action is illegal under California law.
Although you may fear for your job after you have been seriously injured at work, employers face severe restrictions on whether they can terminate you in the context of a work injury. Most employers will try to work with you while you recover and may even find you light-duty or temporary work until you are able to work full time again.
Employers who have 50 or more employees are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Under these laws, an employer must generally allow you to take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks without terminating your employment if you are recovering from a serious medical condition. Other federal and state laws may also protect your job as well, including The Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. A Los Angeles workers’ comp attorney can help you navigate your rights under these laws.
An employer is not required to maintain your employment indefinitely if you can no longer do your job. This is a delicate balance because an employer is not allowed to discriminate, but the company also does not need to keep an employee that cannot do the job that he or she was hired to do.
As a general rule, an employer will hold your job for a short period of time while you recover. But, an employer is never forced to keep your position open indefinitely or guarantee you employment forever.
You should also keep in mind that quitting your job while you are recovering from a work injury can have an adverse effect on your workers’ compensation benefits too.
If your employer has indicated that it will not have a place for you to work after you recover from a work accident or you are considering quitting, talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Los Angeles first. You have rights as an employee but asserting them can be complicated. Contact the team at Kropach & Kropach to set up a free consultation today.