Workers Compensation Retaliation Wrongful Termination or Discrimination for Bringing a Claim

You might think, as an employee, that filing a worker’s compensation claim could be a double-edged sword. After all, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of colleagues getting terminated or facing discrimination for exercising this right. However, California law is on your side, expressly forbidding such retaliatory actions by employers.

But, what if you’re already caught up in this predicament? What are your legal options, and how do you effectively seek redress? Well, there’s a lot to unpack, and as we navigate these murky waters, you’ll gain clarity on your rights, the process, and potential outcomes.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

Understanding California’s Workers Compensation Retaliation Laws

To fully comprehend California’s retaliation laws, it’s essential to know that these laws, particularly Labor Code section 132a, explicitly prohibit employers from taking discriminatory actions against employees who file workers’ compensation claims. If you’re an employee who’s suffered a workplace injury and fear retaliation for filing a claim, this law protects you.

It’s not just about termination; discrimination can manifest through salary reduction, refusal to rehire, or seniority reduction. If found guilty, employers can face misdemeanor charges, and you’re entitled to increased compensation, costs, and reinstatement.

Discrimination Under Section 132a Explored

In understanding the scope of discrimination under Section 132a, it’s crucial to recognize that this not only covers overt actions like wrongful termination, but also subtler forms of discrimination such as salary reduction, refusal to rehire, and seniority reduction.

To further explore this, consider these key points:

  • Section 132a doesn’t just cover blatant discrimination, it also addresses more covert actions.
  • It’s not enough for an employer to treat you unfairly, they must also show a clear bias against you due to your workers’ compensation claim.
  • Even if you’re not fired, suffering a salary or seniority reduction can be seen as discrimination.
  • Proving a Section 132a claim requires clear evidence of discrimination.
  • All workers are protected, including undocumented and government employees.

Recovering Damages for 132a Claims

When you’ve been the victim of workplace discrimination under Section 132a, it’s possible to recover significant damages. These include an increase in compensation up to $10,000, reimbursement for lost wages, and job reinstatement.

Winning a 132a claim can lead to a half increase in your compensation, but the total award can’t exceed $10,000, even if the permanent disability amount is higher. Remember, this is in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits.

It takes a clear instance of discrimination to prove a 132a claim, and you have one year from the incident to file. If successful, you can also recover lost wages and regain your job. If your employer is found guilty, they may face penalties, illustrating the seriousness of such violations.

Filing Process for 132a Claims

Understanding the process of filing a 132a claim is crucial if you’ve been discriminated against or wrongfully terminated due to a workplace injury. Here’s a brief rundown of the steps involved:

  • Identify Discrimination or Retaliation: Make sure you have solid evidence that your employer discriminated against or wrongfully terminated you because of your workers’ compensation claim.
  • Prepare Documentation: Gather all necessary documents, including medical records, employment records, and any evidence of discrimination or retaliation.
  • File the Claim: Submit your 132a claim to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board within one year of the discriminatory act.
  • Attend a Hearing: You’ll need to present your case in front of a judge at a hearing.
  • Wait for Verdict: If the judge rules in your favor, you could receive additional compensation, reinstatement, or other remedies.

Successful 132a Claims Outcomes

Navigating the complexities of a 132a claim can be daunting, but with the right evidence and legal support, a successful claim can significantly improve your circumstances after a workplace injury. Winning a 132a claim can result in multiple benefits: increased compensation, job reinstatement, and lost wages recovery.

You might receive a one-half increase in compensation up to $10,000, which includes permanent disability and lost wages. However, the total award under 132a can’t exceed $10,000, even if the permanent disability amount is higher. Additionally, employers found guilty of 132a violations may face fines and compensation payments.

It’s crucial to understand that proving a 132a claim requires clear instances of discrimination. Therefore, careful assessment of employer motives is crucial for success.

Legal Assistance and Additional Considerations

As you consider pursuing a 132a claim, it’s crucial to also explore additional legal options, such as filing a Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) claim or a wrongful discharge claim, both of which can provide further protection against workplace discrimination. Consult with legal professionals to ensure the best outcome possible.

Here are some considerations to bear in mind:

  • Evaluate your case thoroughly: Ensure your case meets the criteria for a 132a claim.
  • Seek legal counsel: Lawyers experienced in workers’ compensation can provide invaluable advice.
  • Understand the implications: Winning a 132a claim can lead to increased compensation, reinstatement, and recovering lost wages.
  • Time is crucial: File your claim within a year of the discriminatory action.
  • Ensure complete documentation: A well-documented case strengthens your claim.


Navigating retaliation or discrimination after filing a workers’ compensation claim can be complex, but understanding your rights under California’s Labor Code Section 132a is crucial.

You’re entitled to recover damages and should know the filing process for successful outcomes. Seek legal advice to guide you through this challenge.

Remember, you’re protected by law and should never endure wrongful termination or discrimination for asserting your rights.

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