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California's Workers’ Comp: Can You Get Fired If You File a Claim?

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Should I Worry About Getting Fired While on Workers’ Comp

Getting injured while on the job is not fun. Going through the trouble and stress of recovery and paying for your medical bills isn’t something you don’t want to deal with.   

Besides, there is another issue that might make you feel afraid after your injury: your job status. It is a common concern to be fired after filing a Workers’ Comp claim, as you may think your employer will retaliate against you for doing it.   

This concern makes a lot of injured workers afraid of pursuing a case because no one wants to lose their jobs. So, it is important to clarify how much of this is actually true.  

In the present article, we discuss the main points of getting fired after filing a Workers’ Comp claim. 

1. What happens if you get fired? 

Termination of employment is one of the primary worries you can face after getting an on-the-job injury or illness. You might feel your current circumstance would be too troublesome for your employer.  

Therefore, it’s logical to fear being laid off, as it seems the best choice your employer can make to ease the financial burden. 

Filing for a Workers’ Comp claim gives you the protection you need to feel safe. This system prevents your employer from retaliating against you. For this reason, they cannot take away your benefits or fire you from your job because you got injured. 

Keep in mind that the Workers’ Comp system only works as a safety net for workplace injury and sickness. It means that you will not get immunity from being fired.  

In simpler words, while you are protected from unjust retaliation if you file a Workers’ Comp claim, you can still get fired for different reasons. 

2. Possible reasons for being laid off 

Firing you may not be fair to you, but it still happens. Why is that? Because companies will have to do what is right for their business, which isn’t illegal.   

Your employer can’t fire you outright because of filing a Workers’ Comp claim. However, there are several reasons why they could terminate your contract, such as: 

Downsizing  

If you got laid off simultaneously with other employees, you most likely weren’t fired because of your Workers’ Comp claim.   

The business may be going through some changes. These changes require them to make hard decisions regarding employment, among other things. 

Work Performance 

If you are recovering from an injury but are now allowed to return to work, your doctor may have advised you to take it easy. As such, your employer will be legally obligated to provide you with reasonable accommodation for you to do your job.   

If you still can’t perform your duties, the company can fire you even with accommodations in place. They have the right to do it, as they cannot afford to lose money or downgrade the company’s performance quality. 

Employment State 

Before considering you are being laid off unjustified, you should first note your employment status. If you are an “at-will” employee, you may as well resign from your job for any or no reason.   

However, this also goes the same for your employer. That being said, they can terminate your contract whether they have the motive to let you go or not. So check this issue first. 

3. What can Workers’ Comp do to help you? 

Workers’ Compensation is a government-mandated system that provides monetary benefits to those who become injured or disabled due to their job. Most compensation plans cover medical fees, lost wages, and more.  

Depending on the severity of your work-related injury or illness, your claim can last several years.  

Conclusion 

As an employee, you are entitled to get Workers' Comp benefits when you get injured or sick in the workplace. This way, you won’t have to worry about financial troubles and can focus on your recovery.   

While your employer isn’t legally allowed to fire you because of a Workers’ Comp claim, they can still do so during your claim. It all depends on the reasons to do so, but keep in mind that your lesion can't be one. 

If you think your firing was unjustified, make sure to reach out to an attorney near you to help you file a retaliation claim. Remember that there's no reason for you to go through this alone.  

Do you need help with your case? Contact Pacific Workers’, The Lawyers for Injured Workers for a free, confidential case evaluation. Call us at 800-606-6999 or make an appointment here.     

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