California is an at-will state when it comes to employment. This means that employers can generally terminate a worker without giving a reason, and employees or allowed to leave their job for whatever reason they see fit. However, there are times when an employee faces retaliation in the workplace. This retaliation can result in adverse treatment or even wrongful termination. Here, we want to discuss workplace retaliation, what it looks like, and what your rights are if you suspect you face retaliation on the job.
If You Sustain an Injury, Your Employer Can’t Retaliate For Reporting It
In California, just about every employee is covered through the workers’ compensation system. This means that when a person sustains an on-the-job injury, they should be able to recover full compensation for their medical bills and most of their lost wages if they cannot work. This is a no-fault system, which means that it does not matter who caused the injury. Employees do not have to prove any type of negligence on the part of their employer or a co-worker in order to recover compensation.
In theory, an employer is not allowed to terminate an employee just because they are injured and file a workers’ compensation claim. However, because California is an at-will employment state, an employer can still terminate a worker for a reason other than something related to the injury, or at least they can say that is why they are terminating the individual. In reality, it is not uncommon for workers in California to lose their job for getting hurt in the workplace and reporting the incident, even if the employer does not outright say that.
Reporting Unsafe Conditions in the Workplace
Individuals are also protected from retaliation for reporting unsafe working conditions. One of the number one ways for employees to stay safe is to ensure that they have a safe working environment. If an employer or co-worker causes a condition in the workplace that is unsafe, it should be reported so the situation can be remedied. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for individuals to lose their jobs for reporting unsafe working conditions.
If an employee reports an unsafe working condition that is a violation of state or federal law, they are protected from employer retaliation.
Contact an Attorney
Yes, individuals can lose their jobs after sustaining a workplace injury. However, employers cannot terminate individuals under certain circumstances.
If you believe that you have been retaliated against by your employer for either sustaining an injury, reporting an injury, or reporting an unsafe work environment, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney immediately. A Riverside worker’s compensation lawyer can discuss your case with you and determine the best steps moving forward. When an attorney takes your case, they will investigate every aspect of the claim and work to negotiate a settlement with your employer and their insurance carrier. If necessary, an attorney will take your case all the way to trial to ensure that you are properly cared for. An attorney can work to recover any lost wages you sustained as well as other damages through a settlement or a jury trial.