Wrongful Termination After a Work-Related Injury
By Gregory Thyberg on September 02, 2022
A workplace injury can cause a lot of physical and emotional stress. Unfortunately, that stress can be heightened if a worker is terminated following their injury. It is important for workers in the Sacramento, CA, area to understand their rights regarding wrongful termination after a work-related injury.
California is a state of at-will employment, which means that an employer can fire a worker at any time without providing cause or reason. However, even in at-will states, a termination cannot violate employment laws, including those that protect workers from discrimination and retaliation. Wrongful termination lawyer Gregory Thyberg assists individuals who have been unlawfully fired after suffering a work-related injury in filing a wrongful termination claim.
Protections After a Work-Related Injury
Employers in the state of California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation provides benefits to employees following a work-related injury. Depending on the circumstances of the injury, benefits may include coverage for medical bills and lost wages. It is important to note that workers’ compensation insurance does not provide job protection. However, most states have their own laws that protect employees following a work-related injury.
California Labor Code Section 132(a) specifically pertains to protections following a work-related injury. The law prohibits employers from firing an employee who informs them that they intend to file a workers’ compensation claim, or from firing an employee in retaliation for them filing a workers’ compensation claim or receiving workers’ compensation benefits. If this employment right is violated, a wrongful termination claim can be filed.
Medical Leave Rights
In addition to being protected from termination on the basis of retaliation related to workers’ compensation, Sacramento workers are also entitled to protections provided under the California Family Rights Act. This law, in conjunction with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), gives workers the right to request necessary medical leave, including leave to recover from a work-related injury.
Eligible employees are allowed up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave in a 12-month period. Employees not only have the right to this medical leave, but they are also provided job protections while on leave. Upon completion of an approved medical leave, employers must allow employees to return to their former position, or to one that is comparable in pay and rank. Again, if this right is violated, a wrongful termination claim can be filed.
What To Do if You’ve Been Fired After an Injury
Despite the laws in place to protect workers from wrongful termination after a work-related injury, it is not uncommon for employers to fire a worker while they are on leave, or shortly after their return. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of their rights regarding wrongful termination, and, therefore, fail to take any action.
Any worker who believes they have been unlawfully fired due to a work-related injury should discuss their situation with a knowledgeable wrongful termination lawyer, such as Gregory Thyberg. If a wrongful termination claim can be proven, fired employees may be due substantial financial compensation for damages such as lost wages. It is important that individuals act quickly following their termination, because the statute of limitations limits the amount of time in which a claim can be filed.
If you have been terminated following a work-related injury, you may have grounds to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. To discuss the details of your situation with attorney Gregory Thyberg, send us a message online or call our Sacramento law firm at (916) 204-9173.