workers compensation retaliation
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Employees sustain injuries while performing their work duties all the time. Fortunately, the California Division of Workers’ Compensation exists to ensure that these injured employees receive fair compensation from their employers for their lost wages and injuries. Employers also must provide medical benefits for their employees. This holds true for both injuries and illnesses acquired while on the job. However, many individuals encounter difficulties while filing their workers’ compensation claims. One of these difficulties is the possibility of workers’ compensation retaliation.

Workers’ compensation retaliation occurs when someone’s employer refuses to provide benefits to their injured employee. They do this and much more in an attempt to punish the employee for filing a claim. If you sustained an injury while at work, and you want to file a claim, this blog will explain the tell-tale signs of retaliation. At Jones Legal, we have a wide variety of workers’ compensation cases as experience and we’re here for you. We’ll keep you informed throughout the process of your case, and fight back against workers’ compensation retaliation. If you or a loved one suffered a work accident, call Jones Legal today at 951-742-7213 for your free case evaluation.

What Is Workers’ Compensation in California?

Before we get started about workers’ compensation retaliation, we will first explain the basics of workers’ comp cases in California. In the Golden State, all employers must carry workers’ compensation coverage. Even with just one employee, this rule still applies. The executive officers and directors of corporations even receive coverage, unless the corporation is fully owned by them. The source of the coverage may be either commercial providers or California’s state-administered fund.

Workers’ compensation coverage actually helps businesses much more than most people think. Below, we list three main ways in which this happens.

  • It covers the expenses of an employee’s injury or illness.
  • It keeps all businesses in line with state and federal regulations.
  • Finally, it protects those businesses from lawsuits from sick or injured employees.

Workers’ compensation benefits are extremely helpful for employees who suffer on-the-job injuries. These benefits cover a wide variety of expenses, which we list below.

  • Present and future medical expenses required to treat the employee, whether it was a minor or catastrophic injury.
  • Lost hours or wages as a result of the injury or illness.
  • Ongoing treatments like surgery, medications, or physical therapy required to treat the employee. 
  • Wrongful death benefits, such as coverage for funeral costs, should the employee die from the accident.

What Is Workers’ Compensation Retaliation?

Now we have a firm grasp on workers’ compensation, from requirements in California to benefits. But what is workers’ compensation retaliation? First and foremost, retaliation against employees who file a workers’ comp claim is illegal. Employers may not terminate an employee just because they filed, or intend to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, we still see businesses try to get around this rule.

The priority of nearly every company is to make a profit. What does that mean for injured employees? It means that, in a workers’ compensation case, companies don’t want to pay for medical expenses, time off, or other employee rights. Some employers choose to avoid these payouts by simply firing the employee. However, the employee then has every right to file a lawsuit against their employer. In the next section, we outline how to pinpoint signs of retaliation against an employee for filing a claim.

How Can I Find Signs of Workers’ Compensation Retaliation?

Little do companies know that it is extremely easy to leave behind a trail of breadcrumbs for an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to follow. While they may think of themselves as sneaky, Jones Legal is dedicated to sniffing out those who violate California workers’ compensation laws. In general, retaliation looks like any and all negative actions taken against employees who either filed or intended to file a claim. Below, we list specific examples of retaliation that the Jones Legal team has seen over the years.

  • Cutting an hourly worker’s hours
  • Pay reductions
  • Demoting employees after they sustain injuries
  • Transferring employees after they sustain injuries
  • Disciplinary action against an employee who files a claim
  • Termination
  • Negative reviews or write-ups to the employee

It is important to remember that, no matter what the circumstances, you are entitled to protection under the law. So long as you can work with your attorney to prove your case, you’ll be in the clear. 

Can You Fire an Employee on Workers’ Compensation?

While it is against the law to fire someone for filing their compensation claim, it still happens. However, if an employer fires an employee before or after they file their claim, that employee often has a strong case. Remember that these cases usually boil down to who proves what.

Even though employers violate the law by retaliating against their employees with termination, they still have some protection. Oftentimes, these employers try to argue that they were already planning to fire you when the injury occurred. In other cases, they may say that your compensation claim is fraudulent. For situations where you receive a pay cut instead of termination, they may say that other employees also receive pay cuts, not just you. In the next section, we discuss ways in which you can fight against workers’ compensation retaliation.

How Do I Prove Workers’ Compensation Retaliation?

With the help of an experienced legal team, you can prove workers’ compensation retaliation in a court. Before speaking with your attorney, save anything and everything you think might strengthen your case, including emails, text messages, voicemails, written words, or anything else that documents a conversation between you and your employer. Below, we list some of the facts that we work to prove in a retaliation lawsuit.

  • You were injured at work, and fully entitled to receive your workers’ comp benefits.
  • You intended to or did file a claim at your workplace.
  • The terms of your employment were violated by your employer. This includes any negative action against you, like termination of employment or pay cuts.
  • Your employer took these negative actions because you filed or intended to file a compensation claim.

If we prove all of the above, you have a very strong case. Winning means that you receive both the original compensation, as well as compensation for other damages and attorney fees. 

Contact an Experienced Inland Empire Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you believe yourself to be a victim of workers’ compensation retaliation, you need the experienced attorneys at Jones Legal in California. We’re here to fight for your rights, get you just compensation, and hold companies accountable for their actions. Don’t wait to file a claim. Call our office today at 951-742-7213 for a free case evaluation, or to speak with an experienced attorney.