Wrongful Termination Involving Workers’ Compensation Claims
By Gregory Thyberg on February 08, 2022
When people are fired, they often do not consider whether they have grounds to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. However, even in at-will employment states, if workers are fired for illegal reasons, or those that violate employment laws, they may have a claim.
Retaliation is one illegal reason for termination, yet it is not uncommon for employees to lose their job as retribution for certain actions, such as filing a workers’ compensation claim. Individuals in the Sacramento, CA, area who believe they have been wrongfully terminated after filing a workers’ compensation claim can work with wrongful termination lawyer Gregory Thyberg to find out if they are due damages related to their firing.
What Are My Rights in an At-will Employment State?
California is one of many at-will employment states. In an at-will employment state employers and employees both have the right to terminate employment at any time, without giving any reason for the termination. What many people do not understand is that, even in an at-will employment state, employees obtain certain rights. If a termination breaks employment laws, or violates an employee’s rights to protection from discrimination or retaliation, it is classified as a wrongful termination.
Can I Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
All employers in the state of California, regardless of the number of employees, are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If an employee is injured at work, or injured as a result of their job duties, they should file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits that include medical care, temporary and/or permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits (in the event an employee dies as a result of workplace injuries).
Employees have a right to workers’ compensation benefits. Employers cannot legally deny a workers’ compensation claim (unless an insurance investigation finds the claim to be fraudulent), nor do they have the right to punish or retaliate against an employee who makes a workers’ compensation claim. If an employee is fired as retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim, it is a clear example of wrongful termination.
Proving Wrongful Termination Involving Retaliation
Employers know that termination on the grounds of retaliation is illegal, so they are highly unlikely to admit that it is the reason for firing an employee. The best chance that individuals have to prove wrongful termination is by working with a knowledgeable wrongful termination lawyer. Gregory Thyberg works on behalf of his Sacramento clients to gather evidence that supports a wrongful termination claim. Potential sources of evidence include prior work performance evaluations, inter-office communication (emails, phone messages, etc.), witness testimony, and any documentation that shows a history of the employer firing other employees under similar circumstances.
Wrongful Termination Damages
Plaintiffs in wrongful termination cases may be due a wide range of damages. Economic damages often make up the bulk of wrongful death compensation. Economic damages may include:
- Repayment for lost wages
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of any bonuses or overtime that would have been earned
- Loss of future wages (if the employee is not reinstated)
In addition to economic damages, workers may be due compensation for emotional damages related to the termination, as well as compensatory damages for costs related to the search for a new job.
Contact Gregory Thyberg
If you have recently been fired, and you believe it was retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may have grounds to file a wrongful termination claim. To discuss your situation with wrongful termination lawyer Gregory Thyberg, send us a message online, or call our Sacramento law office at (916) 204-9173.