Companies across California have to pay for workers’ compensation insurance to protect themselves from liability and their employees from major financial losses. When a worker gets hurt, workers’ compensation can pay for their medical treatment and help cover their basic cost of living expenses.
Generally, workers expect to get treatment and support when they get injured on the job, but some of them face penalties, possibly even the loss of their employment. Concerns about punishment or retaliation for filing a benefits claim might even stop someone from asking for benefits that they genuinely need and deserve.
Can your employer legally punish you if you file a workers’ compensation claim?
Your employer should not try to stop you from filing a workers’ compensation claim, nor should they punish you for asking for benefits. In fact, you should be able to expect that they would support you, possibly by offering you altered job responsibilities so that you don’t need to make a disability benefits claim.
You can typically expect reasonable accommodations for your medical condition until you recover enough to get back to your standard job responsibilities or support to return to your job once you recover. Your rights to a safe workplace and medical accommodations so that you can recover are important protections as an injured worker. How do some employers violate these rights?
Some businesses or managers will develop a negative attitude toward a worker who has claimed workers’ compensation benefits.
They might fire the worker shortly after they make the claim or start writing them up for a bunch of minor issues for which they do not discipline other workers. They might refuse to cooperate with the employee or replace them during a leave of absence for recovery purposes. They might refuse to offer accommodations so that a worker can’t come back on the job.
Documenting those behaviors can help you fight back when your employer makes your job miserable or tries to fire you just because you needed workers’ compensation benefits. Knowing your rights can help you better protect yourself if you get injured on the job.