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What Is Employer Retaliation in Workers’ Compensation Cases?

Employer Retaliation in Workers’ Compensation CasesIf your employer fired or penalized you for no reason beyond the fact that you exercised your legal right to seek workers’ compensation benefits, that is employer retaliation.

If you are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, you should know what employer retaliation looks like and take appropriate steps to protect yourself.


Examples of Employer Retaliation

Employer retaliation can take many forms. Below are a few common examples of the actions an employer might take to “get back” at employees seeking workers’ comp benefits:

  • Termination: The employer fires an employee after the employee files (or talks about filing) a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Wage reduction: Without justification (e.g., a reduction of the employee’s working hours), the employer reduces the employee’s pay.
  • Role alteration: Without justification (e.g., the employee is physically incapable of fulfilling their previous job duties), the employer takes tasks away from the employee or requires the employee to perform tasks that are well beyond the scope of their job description.
  • Loss of perks or benefits: The employer does not allow the employee to enjoy benefits that should come with their position, such as travel to overseas offices.
  • Rejection for a promotion or raise: The employer refuses to allow the employee to advance, despite the employee proving they qualify for and deserve advancement.

Filing for Workers’ Compensation Doesn’t Protect You From Legal Termination

It is important to realize that these actions alone are not proof of employer retaliation. For example, your employer has the right to legally fire you if:

  • You were not following company rules
  • You were not performing the job duties they hired you to do
  • They no longer have a need for your position
  • They can no longer afford to keep you on the payroll

To have an employer retaliation case, you must show that your employer’s actions caused you harm and that your employer took action for no reason beyond your attempts to seek workers’ compensation.


Do I Have a Right to Workers’ Comp?

If you are an employee as defined by LAB § 2750.3, and if state law requires your employer to carry workers’ compensation insurance, you have the right to:

  • Apply for workers’ compensation benefits without fear of retaliation or reprisal
  • Receive compensation to cover your medical treatment, a portion of your lost wages, and certain other expenses
  • Dispute your employer’s conclusions regarding how much compensation you deserve
  • Fight back if your employer tries to fire you, reduce your pay, or take other adverse action because of your workers’ compensation claim

This right may apply to full-time, part-time, temporary, and undocumented employees.

You Have Legal Protections

Chapter 1 of a document published by the California Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) is clear: “It’s illegal for your employer to punish or fire you for having a job injury or for requesting workers’ compensation benefits when you believe your injury was caused by your job.”

If you believe your employer has retaliated against you just for exercising your legal rights, you should consider hiring a legal representative to help you fight back.


What Can I Do About Employer Retaliation?

Employer retaliation in workers’ compensation cases is a very serious matter. It violates your rights as codified in state law. You, therefore, have the right to take legal action, up to and including filing a lawsuit against your employer, in such cases.

A workers’ comp attorney can help you decide whether or not a lawsuit is the right course of action for you by:

  • Finding evidence to prove that your employer’s actions were unjustified and retaliatory
  • Explaining what a lawsuit entails, what your rights and responsibilities will be throughout the process, and so on
  • Determining what you may be able to get from a lawsuit (e.g., compensation for pain and suffering and lost wages or the reinstatement of your old position)
  • Answering any questions you have about the process

Services a Wrongful Termination Lawyer Can Provide

If you and your lawyer agree that filing a lawsuit is the right thing to do, they can take care of most of the legal work associated with that course of action, including:

  • Advising you on how to proceed with your legal action
  • Presenting evidence to other parties, including a judge and jury in a court of law if necessary
  • Negotiating with your employer for a settlement that reimburses you for all losses associated with their retaliatory actions
  • Handling all paperwork and helping all of the involved parties to keep in touch for the duration of the case
  • Keeping you updated about your case’s progress as it moves through the legal system

It is easy to feel intimidated when you sue another party, especially if they are much larger and have more resources than you do. A workers’ compensation lawyer can be an invaluable ally as you pursue justice after employer retaliation.


Proving Employer Retaliation Can Be Difficult

Very few employers will come right out and admit that they are punishing you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Instead, they will disguise their true intentions behind plausible excuses, such as company downsizing or an allegation that you were not performing up to their standards.

For this and other reasons, it is a good idea to hire an attorney to represent you in an employer retaliation case. They can investigate your employer’s actions by:

  • Requesting copies of the employer’s records to learn more about their treatment of employees, your performance record, and so on
  • Speaking with people you work with or who have knowledge of the way the employer operates
  • Requesting copies of your medical records to establish how your injuries happened and your eligibility for workers’ comp benefits
  • Reviewing any communications (emails, text messages, and so on) that passed between you and your employer

If you have any reason to believe that you were retaliated against, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help.


Protect Your Right to Workers’ Compensation

Want to learn more about what employer retaliation is in workers’ compensation cases—and what you can do if you were the victim of retaliation? Contact or call KJT Law Group at (818) 507-8525. Our team fights hard to protect our clients’ rights and to pursue a fair solution to your case.

We Will Fight For You

Contact our firm to get started.
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