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Our Santa Barbara workers’ compensation attorneys at Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld, know that suffering a work injury can be overwhelming for anyone — no matter where they work. From the medical care and rehabilitation requirements to the wage-replacement percentage adjustment, these tangible changes become increasingly challenging during the healing process. In addition, with these injuries’ psychological and emotional toll on workers and their families, returning to work can seem like a far-away dream.

Unfortunately, some California workers are met with more than injury challenges. They face the real prospect of losing their jobs if they cannot return to work.

In California, it is against the law for employers to fire employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, this does not mean workers cannot be fired while recovering from workplace injuries and collecting workers’ compensation benefits. If the company downsizes or eliminates your position while you are away, those are legitimate grounds for terminating your employment.

The law only prohibits employers from firing employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Our Santa Barbara workers’ compensation attorneys have protected the rights of California workers since 1956. We believe the more you know about your legal rights and options, the better prepared you will be to file a retaliation or wrongful termination claim against your employer if you lose your job while collecting workers’ compensation benefits.

Here is what California employees need to know about their rights.

Can I Lose My Job for Filing a California Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Legally, employers are not allowed to fire employees for taking workers’ compensation action.

That includes terminating a worker’s employment for:

  • Saying they plan to file a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Submitting a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Successfully obtaining or settling a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Getting a disability rating from a physician.

California employers know they cannot legally retaliate against an employee or terminate their position for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

However, they may terminate the employee by citing legitimate reasons for their decision, including poor performance, workplace violations, or increased delinquency or absences that preceded the injury.

Even if you are terminated while collecting workers’ compensation, your benefits will not end if you are fired. You will continue to receive the benefits until you have recovered or reached maximum medical improvement or ongoing if you are permanently disabled.

What Should I Do If I Believe My California Employer Fired Me for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

If you believe the real reason for your termination was that you filed a workers’ compensation claim, you may have a secondary legal claim under California’s employment laws.

Our skilled Santa Barbara employment law attorneys can review the details of your case during a free consultation and outline your legal rights and options to hold your employer accountable for their unlawful actions so you can pursue justice and return your focus to your physical recovery/

We have six physical offices in Bakersfield, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, and Visalia, and our top-tier technologies provide a virtual reach to serve clients throughout California. We offer free in-person, telephone, and virtual consultations to offer straightforward legal advice for your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more.

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