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Can I sue for wrongful termination after a workplace injury?

How can you prevent being wrongfully fired after you suffer a workplace injury? For too many Californians, the risk of suffering through wrongful termination after a workplace accident is a very real issue. Unscrupulous employers will attempt to limit your access to the financial resources you need after you are the victim of a workplace injury. Today, we discuss just how to handle being injured at work so that you are protected if you are illegally fired.

What should I do first? The first thing you should do in the event of a workplace injury is to report it to your supervisor or employer. Of course, if the injury is an emergency, receiving quick treatment is a priority — notify your employer as soon as possible. When you get to the hospital or clinic, you need to tell the professionals treating you that the injury is work-related. This will help them record information in a way that benefits your potential legal actions in the future.

What if my illness is a chronic condition that came on slowly? You still need to notify your employer. Tell a supervisor as soon as you realize that your condition could be work-related. If you do not report an injury or illness within 30 days of it occurring, you will probably lose your right to seek benefits, based on current California law.

Is my job really protected? In California, it is illegal for employers to fire employees because they are requesting workers’ compensation for an injury they believe to be job-related. Employers may be sued for wrongful termination if they attempt to avoid workers’ compensation payments by firing someone who has been harmed at work.

Source: State of California Department of Industrial Relations, “I was injured at work,” accessed Oct. 20, 2015

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