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It’s important to understand your rights if you get fired or laid off after filing a workers’ compensation claim. 

A layoff typically happens when companies need to reduce their workforce due to restricting actors or business needs. On the other hand, being fired might occur because of job performance or the violation of company policies. 

From unpaid wages to issues about meal breaks to workers’ compensation, consulting with an attorney is definitely beneficial after a termination, especially after a work injury. Your employer might be engaging in unlawful retaliation, and our San Diego employment lawyers can assess your rights. 

What Is Covered Under Workers’ Comp?

In California, workers’ compensation operates under the framework of the California Labor Code and is administered by the Division of Workers Compensation (DWC).

All employers in California must purchase workers’ compensation insurance regardless of the number of employees in their business. Sole proprietors are exempt from this requirement unless they work in the roofing industry.

The workers compensation system consists of certain components, including:

1. Medical benefits: These benefits cover all medical costs related to work-related injuries or illnesses.

2. Temporary disability benefits: These benefits provide income replacement for employees who are unable to work while recovering from their injuries.

3. Disability benefits: These benefits offer assistance to employees who suffer permanent impairments and cannot fully recover from their injuries.

4. Vocational rehabilitation: This program supports employees who are unable to return to their occupation due to work-related disabilities.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you need to file a workers compensation claim in California, you need to take the following steps:

1. Report the injury or illness promptly. Notify your employer within 30 days of the injury or when you become aware of a disease.

2. Complete the DWC 1 claim form. Your employer should provide you with this form within one working day after being informed about your illness or injury. Fill it out and return it as soon as possible to initiate the claims process.

3. Seek medical treatment ASAP. Get the required medical attention and comply with all prescribed healthcare instructions as soon as possible. The doctor, designated by your employer, will be responsible for diagnosing and treating your condition within 30 days of your claim.

4. Wait for a response. Within 14 days of receiving the DWC 1 claim form, your employer or their insurance provider should review, delay, or reject the claim. If approved, you will receive benefits as mandated by California workers’ compensation laws.

Facing a Layoff or Termination

If you face a layoff or termination after filing a workers’ comp claim, you should consult with an employment attorney about your rights.

Wrongful Termination

California follows an “at will” employment policy where employers can terminate employees for any reason. However, if you suspect that your termination violated state or federal laws, you may have grounds for a termination case. Some instances of termination include:

  •  Discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation
  •  Retaliation for reporting activities or workplace safety violations
  •  Violation of policy (For example, firing someone for taking time off to vote or serve on a jury)

Again, if you believe that your termination falls under any of the above-mentioned categories, it is important to seek advice from an employment attorney. We can help you explore your options and take the needed action to regain your job.

Severance Agreement

Additionally, exercise caution if your employer presents a severance agreement following your workers’ compensation claim. Before making any decisions, you should consult with an employment lawyer who can assess the specifics of your case.

Contact an Experienced Employment Attorney

If you believe that your employer has violated your employment rights and you believe you have been fired because of a job injury, don’t hesitate to reach out to Mara Law for a consultation. There is no obligation. An employment attorney can assist you in reclaiming your rights. Schedule an appointment today to get started now.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

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