Can My Boss Fire Me for Filing for Workers' Comp Benefits?
Updated: Mar 18
The short answer: no. But don't be surprised if you're fired anyway shortly after filing a Workers' Compensation claim in California. The reason is simple - you are seen as a liability once you have filed a claim. The last thing your employer wants is for you to aggravate or exacerbate your work injury or suffer a new injury altogether.
In my experience, it is very common for an injured worker to start to notice that the employer is "onto" him or her for every little thing that normally wouldn't be a big deal. Employees that have worked for their company for years without a single write up suddenly find themselves being watched and written up for every small infraction. Five minutes late? Written up. Didn't do the extra work your supervisor made you do on time? Written up. What many California employees start to notice is that their work environment quickly changes for the worse after they notify their boss of their work injury.
My clients often tell me that they feel like their employer is "building a case" against them in order to fire them. Unfortunately, this paranoia is often based in reality because California is what is known as an "at will" state. This basically means that an employer does not owe an employee a job and therefore can fire the worker at any time and for any reason (including if your work injury prevents you from doing your job) as long as the reason isn't unlawful discrimination (think race, age, gender, etc). But since the California Labor Code also makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim, employers often go out of their way to make the firing look "legitimate."
If this situation sounds familiar to you, it is best to not wait until you are fired to file your Workers' Compensation claim. If you do get fired first and then file your Workers' Compensation claim, the insurance company will likely raise the "post-termination" defense, essentially arguing that your claim is retaliation against them because you were fired. At the Law Office of Jamie S. Adler, this situation is encountered routinely and handled aggressively so clients don't have to worry about going from being a respected employee to someone who is being chased out of their job for filing a legitiamte Workers' Compensation claim.
Call us today at (310) 567-7993 for a totally free consultation or visit us at https://www.jsalawfirm.com to learn more. We will stand up to the insurance company for you to make sure that you are treated fairly and compensated justly!