When you’re injured at your job, workers’ compensation is meant to be a parachute, supplying medical care, temporary or permanent disability benefits, and supplemental job displacement assistance. While you do have legal rights and protections under California law from being dismissed because of injuries or disabilities related to your work injury, being on workers’ compensation does not protect you from being fired or laid off.
Let’s say for example an employer is laying off a large number of people or was already planning on firing you—they are within their rights to fire you while you are on workers’ comp. If your disability makes it impossible for you to do your job, you can also get fired. In reality, there are actually hundreds of reasons an employer can legally fire you while you are on workers’ comp, especially if you’re an at-will employee.
However, there is an exception. Your employer is not allowed to terminate you simply for applying for or being on workers’ compensation. This is known as retaliatory termination and it is against the law. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to prove exactly why your employer fired you. It may be because of workers’ compensation, but they can bring up things in your past or simply make up an excuse for as to why you were fired.
Luckily, your workers’ compensation will not end if you are fired. You will continue to receive the benefits until you have recovered or reached maximum medical improvement, or forever if you are permanently disabled.
If you suspect that your employer fired you simply for being on workers’ compensation, please contact our Bakersfield workers’ compensation attorney at Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation today. We are here to protect your rights and ensure you and your loved ones are taken care of.