Work-Related Injury and Discrimination: The Laws that Protect YouAny employee in the state of California should know the laws that protect them when it comes to their employment. If you suffer a work-related accident and get injured, you need to know your rights. In California, it is illegal for your employer to fire you or discriminate against you in any way because of your work-related injury.

The California workers’ compensation lawyers at Kneisler and Schondel will help you fight to get the benefits and compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have experience successfully handling many different types of workers’ compensation cases. If you are facing discrimination at work, contact our lawyers at Kneisler and Schondel and schedule a consultation with our office today.

Labor Code Section 132(a)

Under California Labor Code Section 132(a), an employer is prohibited from discriminating against an employee in any way because he or she filed or intends to file a workers’ compensation claim, received a workers’ compensation claim award, or has or will testify on behalf of another employee in a workers’ compensation claim. Discrimination can take on many forms, including an outright termination of employment. It can also include things like being passed over for a promotion or demoted because of the workers’ compensation claim.

How Can I Identify Discrimination Due to My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Some forms of discrimination are obvious, such as putting your employer on notice of your workers’ compensation claim and being fired on the spot. Other forms of discrimination are more subtle and may occur over time as a consequence of your workers’ compensation claim rather than an immediate response. 

Pay attention to your work environment, and if you have questions regarding whether or not you have been discriminated against due to your workers’ compensation claim, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney as soon as you can. There are certain filing deadlines associated with filing a complaint under Labor Code Section 132(a), so your attorney can advise you of your legal rights and options if you find yourself in this situation.

Is It Discrimination If My Employer Refuses to Give Me My Job Back After My Work Injury?

The short answer to this question is “it depends.” There are some scenarios in which this is discrimination, but under other circumstances, it is not. Under California law, an employer is not required to reinstate an employee to his or her former position if the employee can no longer perform the necessary job duties. This can happen where you have suffered a serious work-related injury, and your doctor has determined that you will likely suffer permanent disability and have permanent work restrictions. The basic test here is that to be considered discrimination, the employer has to have treated you differently than they would have treated anyone else.

If you have concluded your medical treatment and reached MMI status and are no longer able to perform required job tasks because of your permanent disability, your employer may not be required to return you back to work in that position. When this happens because you cannot complete the necessary tasks for the job, it likely is not discrimination. 

Filing a Claim for Violation of California Labor Code 132(a)

If you believe you have been discriminated or retaliated against due to your workers’ compensation claim, you have the right to file a claim against your employer. This claim will be handled by the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). You can file a petition with the WCAB for reinstatement, additional compensation, and reimbursement of any lost wages.

The deadline for filing a claim for violation of Labor Code Section 132(a) is relatively short, so this is another reason to hire an attorney with experience handling these claims. Your attorney will be able to assess the situation and navigate the legal aspects of this process on your behalf, including making sure filing deadlines are met to preserve your claim.

It is crucial to know your legal rights when it comes to your employment. If you believe you have been discriminated against or wrongfully terminated from your job because of your workers’ compensation claim, contact the attorneys at Kneisler and Schondel today to discuss your potential case.