Standing Up For Your Rights If You Were Terminated After An Injury
It’s against the law for an employer to discriminate against you for having a job injury or for claiming workers’ compensation benefits. It’s also against the law for an employer to terminate or punish a co-worker who testifies on your behalf about a workplace accident. If you believe that you have been fired or punished as a result of a work-related injury, you need a strong legal advocate to assert your rights.
At Meechan Rosenthal & Karpilow PC, we want you to understand your rights. If you have been terminated after a workplace injury in California or are experiencing discrimination after a workplace accident, contact us to learn about your legal rights. Our attorneys have dedicated their legal careers to standing up for the rights of injured workers in Sonoma County and the surrounding area.
What Are Your Rights As An Injured Worker?
The California Labor Code protects workers from dismissal because of injuries or disabilities related to their on-the-job accidents. But some employers act as if the law does not apply to them. Your employer is required to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits if you sustain a work-related injury. It is against the law for your employer to dismiss or punish you for getting injured on the job or for claiming workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace accident in California. When you return to work after an injury, your employer cannot assign you to a job that violates the restrictions your doctor has placed on your work.
California Labor Code 132a states plainly that there shall be no discrimination against workers injured on the job. Unfortunately, some employers disregard the law. If you work for a company with 50 or more employees, you also may have a right to unpaid leave if you need additional time off to recover from a serious medical condition, without losing your job. The California Family Rights Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act state that an employer with 50 or more employees must allow you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
What Are The Steps To Take After A Workplace Accident?
- Report your work-related injury or illness to your employer and request a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1).
- Your employer should provide you with a DWC 1 form or you can obtain a form from the State Board of Industrial Relations.
- Fill out and sign the employee section of the form and return it to your employer immediately. Be sure to describe your injury and every part of your body that is affected.
- Keep a copy. If you mail the form, send it by certified mail so that you have a return receipt.
- Your employer has 24 hours to complete the employer portion of the claim form. Be sure to keep a copy.
- If you need medical attention, inform your employer immediately. You can see your own doctor if you have filled out a Personal Physician Pre-Designation form with your employer prior to the accident. If you did not file such a form, request that your employer sends you to a doctor as soon as possible. Medical treatment must be provided within 24 hours of filing the claim.
- Be sure to inform the doctor how the injury occurs and what parts of your body were affected. Inform the doctor that the injury occurred at work. Keep copies of all notes and off-work slips given to you by the doctor.
- Keep records of the dates of medical treatment, mileage, and out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- Before selecting a doctor from the State Panel Qualified Medical Examiner list, consult an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation.
Preventing Discrimination Based On A Disability
If you are left with a disability after a workplace accident, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibit your employer from discriminating against you because of a serious disability. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation judges do not enforce FEHA law. We solve this problem by filing cases both as 132a violations at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and civil cases under FEHA in Superior Court.
Guiding You Through Every Step, No Matter What
California’s workers’ compensation system can seem confusing if you are unfamiliar with it. Dealing with the paperwork and constant filing deadlines can feel overwhelming, particularly if you are struggling to recover from a serious accident. Two of our attorneys are certified by The State Bar of California as workers’ compensation specialists.
We will review the specifics of your accident and develop a strategy for pursuing your claim, then gather evidence. We know the kind of information that workers’ compensation judges look for in order to approve claims. If a further medical evaluation is needed, we can arrange for you to visit a medical doctor for a second opinion. We will keep track of the many deadlines for filing certain documents to keep your claim on track. We will represent you at hearings before a workers’ compensation judge and guide you through the process, keeping you informed at every step.
Request A Free Consultation About Your Claim
You should talk to a certified workers’ compensation attorney about your legal rights. Learn more about what we can do for you by calling our Santa Rosa office at 707-528-4409 or by using our online contact form. We provide free, confidential initial consultations. Hablamos español.