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You thought you had a solid position with your company. You’ve been putting in 40-50 hours each week to earn a decent paycheck. However, you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury that has impacted your ability to work the same schedule. Now, your employer wants to cut your hours to part-time, claiming reduced demand. 

As a California employee, you have rights in this situation. Before you agree to a reduction in hours or pay following a workplace injury, understand what the law allows and doesn’t allow your employer to do. 

Don’t sign away your rights without understanding the full implications. Know what questions to ask and what protections you can rely on. Talk to an employment lawyer about your rights in this regard.

California Labor Laws Protect Injured Employees From Reduced Hours

In California, you have rights as an employee if you suffer a work-related injury. Your employer cannot reduce your hours or demote you in retaliation.

According to California Labor Code Section 132a, your employer is prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against you when you file for workers’ compensation. This includes reducing your hours, demoting you to a lower-paying position, or terminating your employment.

If your employer cuts your hours after you file a claim or you report an injury, contact the California Labor Commissioner’s Office immediately. They will investigate and require your employer to restore your hours and back pay. Your employer could face penalties for violating Section 132a and may be subject to steep fines for their behavior.

You should also report reduced hours to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. They may be required to provide additional wage loss benefits to make up for any lost earnings.

While recovering from an injury, focus on healing and leave the legal matters to the experts. Don’t let your employer take advantage of you during this vulnerable time. Know your rights, and don’t hesitate to contact the Labor Commissioner, a workers’ compensation attorney, or a disability advocacy group for enforcement help.

With the backing of California law and advocacy groups on your side, you can recover from your injury without fear of losing work hours or income. Stay strong, follow the doctor’s orders, and keep fighting for the fair treatment you deserve. 

Steps to Take if Your Hours Are Cut After a Work Injury

So, can an employer decrease an injured worker’s working hours? If your employer cuts your hours after a work injury, take action right away. First, talk to your HR department or manager and express your concerns in writing. Explain that legal professionals consider a reduction in hours a form of retaliation under state law. Ask them to restore your usual hours until you’ve fully recovered. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to get proactive.

Next, file a complaint with the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). They regularly investigate claims of retaliation and can order your employer to reinstate your hours and pay. You’ll need records like pay stubs, work schedules, and medical paperwork to support your claim.

Talk to an employment lawyer regarding your legal options. They can send a demand letter to your employer, file a lawsuit on your behalf, and help determine if you’re entitled to damages.

While an injury may prevent you from working a full-time schedule, your employer must continue to provide the same or equivalent responsibilities and pay rate. Reduced hours should only last during the recovery period. Also, remember that a reduction in hours requires an employee’s consent. 

Contact an Employer Lawyer Now

Do you have questions about your rights when filing for workers’ compensation in California? If so, address your concerns with the Mara Law Firm. Schedule a consultation today.

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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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