As a California employee, you understand that you have the right to seek workers' compensation benefits in the event that you suffer an injury at work or become ill as a result of your job. These benefits allow you to get the support and care you need during your recovery. This can be especially important if you had to take time off work after the accident.
You are entitled to seek support after a work accident, but your employer may feel differently. Your insurance claim could result in higher costs and complications for him and her, and you could endure unfair treatment simply for seeking your rightful benefits. If you believe that your employer is retaliating against you because you filed a workers' compensation claim, you have the right to speak out.
Why and how does retaliation happen?
Many employers view their legal requirement to carry workers' compensation insurance as unfair or unnecessarily infringing on their rights. They may also find it frustrating when their costs rise and premiums increase over time after one or multiple claims. Your boss may view your claim as unnecessary or a ploy to get money. Retaliation for workers' compensation claims can happen in many ways and for many reasons.
There is never a legal basis for an employer to act against an employee for filing a claim. Doing this is grounds for a lawsuit that could result in even more complication and cost for the employer. Some of the most common reasons why retaliation happens in these types of cases include the following:
- The employer believes workers' comp claims are too frequent or too expensive, and he or she prefers that employees use their personal insurance.
- The workers' compensation claim came back denied, which an employer may take as proof that the claim was unfounded or unnecessary in the first place.
- The employee refuses to delay or avoid filing a claim at the behest of the employer, or he or she will not claim the injury happened at home, even under pressure.
One of the most common forms of retaliation for workers' compensation claims is termination immediately after filing or shortly after. Other forms of retaliation can include harassment, wage decrease, demotion, exclusion and more.
If you think your employer is acting unfairly toward you after you filed a workers' compensation claim, you do not have to suffer in silence or simply hope that it gets better at some point. You may want to act quickly to explore your legal options and find out if you have grounds to move forward with a civil claim.