You can be terminated while on workers’ compensation in California under very specific circumstances. If your employer fires you for reasons related to your job performance prior to your injury, this termination is legal and allowed. If, however, your firing was in retaliation for your having filed your claim, you could have the right to compensation. Retaliatory firing is illegal, and you can hold your employer liable for it.
It can be hard to prove the reason behind your termination on your own. It can be equally difficult to build a civil case against your employer after a retaliatory termination. A workers’ comp lawyer in your area can help. They will investigate your initial injury and subsequent application for benefits, collect evidence that supports your allegations, and fight hard for appropriate financial compensation.
Let a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Review Your Termination Case
If you were fired from your job and believe it resulted from having filed for and received workers’ comp benefits, you do not have to accept your termination without a fight. A local lawyer will take on your case and:
- Investigate your initial on-the-job injury
- Review your original workers’ comp claim
- Interview coworkers and other witnesses
- Request and review your employment records
- Review all correspondence related to your firing
- Consult employment and subject matter experts
A workplace injury can prevent you from participating in your wrongful termination case as fully as you would like. When you hire a workers’ compensation lawyer, they can examine the circumstances of your workers’ compensation termination and build your case in a thorough and timely fashion.
You Can Be Fired for Pre-Injury Circumstances
While you cannot be fired because you are on workers’ comp, you can be fired for actions and job performance issues that happened before you were injured. Your employer can terminate you if they can prove you did one or more of the following:
- You failed to adhere to a known safety regulation.
- Your performance was affected by drugs or alcohol.
- Your job performance put coworkers or others at risk.
- Your employer laid you and others off with valid cause.
- They fired you due to your excessive tardiness or absences.
- Your employer restructured the company.
Losing your job and source of income at any time can be stressful. However, being fired while dealing with a workplace injury can be even more overwhelming. Your workers’ compensation lawyer will review your termination documents to identify the reason given for your termination.
You Can Be Fired for Failure to Perform or Failure to Comply
Workers’ compensation medical benefits will cover the costs of all injury-related medical care, rehabilitation, and therapy until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Once you reach MMI, your employer may offer you the same or similar work as you did pre-injury.
Workers’ compensation termination is legal if you refuse to return to work or the same type of work. It is also legal if you refuse to comply when your employer offers you a different job when lingering or residual damage from your initial injury prevents you from performing your previous job.
You Will Keep Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits if You Were Terminated
According to the State of California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), you will continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits even after termination. Your benefits are the result of a workplace injury and include:
- Medical bills that cover the costs of all required emergency care, hospitalizations, treatments, assistive medical devices, medications, rehab, and therapy
- Lost income equal to approximately two-thirds of your average weekly salary when your injuries prevent you from working for seven days or longer
If your benefits end early, a workers’ comp lawyer can help you file an appeal. They will explain and calculate the benefits you lost and determine if they were discontinued and how you can recover them. They can also help you pursue additional damages from your employer if your firing was in retaliation for your workers’ comp claim.
What to Do If You Believe Your Termination Was Retaliatory
Regardless of the reason you were given, if you believe you were terminated because of your injury or workers’ comp case, your rights were violated, and you can take legal action. The sooner you get a workers’ compensation lawyer involved in your case, the better. They can:
- Explain California law and its effect on your case
- Document your employer’s unlawful actions
- Prove you were ready, willing, and able to return to work
- Obtain performance reviews and other accolades you earned
- Speak to coworkers, supervisors, and managers
Your employer may notify you of the reason you were fired. In any case, if you discover you were fired to punish or penalize you for filing a workers’ comp claim, a lawyer can help you recover damages from your employer.
A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Will Build the Strongest Possible Case for You
No one should lose their job without just and valid cause. If you do, you have options. A lawyer can explain how your rights were violated and how your employer can be held accountable for their actions.
As a victim of retaliatory termination, you can pursue your employer and recover compensation for your loss of income and benefits. You might also have grounds to request compensation for your pain and suffering as part of your civil lawsuit.
Contact Our Workers’ Comp Case Review Team Today
You can be terminated while on workers’ compensation in California if your employer has a valid reason. However, if you believe you were fired for retaliatory or another non-valid reason, we can help. Our workers’ comp lawyer will investigate the circumstances of your case and fight to recover appropriate compensation on your behalf.