If an employee is injured while working, the employee deserves to receive the workers' compensation benefits that they are entitled to.
California law specifically protects employees from being discriminated against by their employer for filing a workers' compensation claim.
California Labor Code Section 132(a) states:
“Any employer who discharges, or threatens to discharge, or in any manner discriminates against any employee because he or she has filed or made known his or her intention to file a claim for compensation with his or her employer or an application for adjudication, or because the employee has received a rating, award, or settlement, is guilty of a misdemeanor and the employee's compensation shall be increased by one-half, but in no event more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), together with costs and expenses not in excess of two hundred fifty dollars ($250). Any such employee shall also be entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by the acts of the employer.”
Thus, an injured employee should not be afraid to pursue a workers' compensation claim – California law explicitly protects him or her from being retaliated against for doing so.
A Workers' Compensation Claim and a Disability Discrimination Claim
If an employee is injured at work and their injuries affect their ability to do their job, the employee will have a viable workers' compensation claim and would also most likely be considered disabled under California law.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), specifically prohibits a disabled employee from being discriminated against by their employer because of their disability.
Therefore, an injured employee who files a workers' compensation claim and is then discriminated against, most likely will, in addition to having a claim for retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim, also have a claim for disability discrimination under FEHA.