The Options You Have if Your California Employer Wrongfully Terminates You for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

There are lots of reasons why you can be fired from your job. Possibly fewer are more frustrating that being terminated in retaliation simply because you exercised your legal rights, such as filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Of course, when an employer fires you simply because you filed for workers’ compensation, that employer has broken the law by wrongfully terminating you. That you may have known. What you may not know is… what do I do about it? What steps must I take and how quickly must I act? To get the answers you need to question like this and similar ones, be sure you talk to a knowledgeable Oakland employment attorney about your situation.

A case that recently settled in Sacramento is an example of this type of scenario. M.C. worked as a program analyst for the City of Sacramento from 2011 to 2015. In 2015, she allegedly got hurt at work. As many people who suffer injuries on the job do, M.C. filed a claim seeking workers’ compensation benefits.

A few months after the analyst filed her workers’ compensation claim, the city placed her on a mandatory leave of absence. After that, the city fired the woman, alleging that the termination was the result of the analyst’s “misconduct” on the job. The woman sued and eventually was able to secure a settlement in which the city agreed to pay her $860,000 in exchange for her dropping her case, according to a Sacramento Bee report.

For most employees harmed in a manner like M.C., they can seek recovery through a wrongful termination lawsuit brought under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. One of California’s public policies is that workers should not suffer employment discrimination as a result of injuries those employees experienced while in the service of their employers. That policy is codified in the state’s statutes at Section 132a of the Labor Code. The California courts have interpreted that public policy to include workers who file workers’ compensation benefits claims.

This protection protects workers in a number of ways. If you determine that it is appropriate for you to: (1) inform your employer of your plan to seek workers’ compensation benefits, (2) submit a workers’ compensation claim to your employer, (3) file with the Division of Workers’ Compensation, or (4) get a disability rating from a doctor, then your employer cannot terminate you or even threaten to fire you for taking any of these actions. (There are also several other workers’ compensation-related actions that are covered, as well.)

Once you demonstrate to the court hearing your FEHA case that your employer took inappropriate adverse action against you because of your workers’ compensation benefits claim, then you may be entitled to various forms of relief. These include:

  • An order from the court reinstating you to your old job
  • An award of lost wages
  • An award of additional money damages beyond just your lost wages
  • An award of your attorney’s fees

If you find yourself having been wrongfully terminated and needing to litigate that wrongful termination in the California courts, then you need an experienced California attorney. Contact the knowledgeable Oakland employment attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch. We have helped workers who have been harmed as a result of employer misconduct and wrongfully imposed adverse employment actions. To learn more about what we can do for you, contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-1073 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.