Recovering from an injury acquired in the workplace is hard enough. You don’t want to cause problems; you just want to feel better. Few things make recovery worse than retaliation from your employer for filing a worker’s compensation claim.
Retaliation can show itself in several ways. You may have seen your earnings reduced by cutbacks to your hours or salary after filing your claim. Perhaps your employer transferred or demoted you to a less-favorable position. Other disciplinary actions are possible instances of retaliation as well.
Recently, a court awarded a Sacramento woman $860,000 in 2017 from a wrongful termination lawsuit after she filed a worker’s compensation claim. Her employer placed her on a mandatory leave of absence and then terminated her for alleged misconduct. This ruling shows that these instances not only does retaliation happen, but the law takes these cases seriously.
How to file a retaliation claim
Filing a workplace retaliation claim is relatively simple. You can complete the process entirely on the state's website. However, there are a couple things you should know:
- Statute of limitations: means that you have six months from the date of the retaliatory event to file your complaint.
- Provide a record of events: showing when the events leading to the claim occurred and collect supporting evidence such as paystubs, performance reviews and notes. It’s a good idea to gather these items as time goes on instead of scrambling to find them at the last minute.
Once you’ve filed your complaint, the Retaliation Complaint Investigation Unit will determine what took place. You employer may offer a settlement, or the investigation could determine that you’re owed for lost wages, require your employer to reinstate you at your former position and more. Your employer is legally obligated to comply with the findings of the investigation within 30 days or face a lawsuit from the Labor Commissioner’s Office to force their hand.
Your focus after a workplace injury should be on recovery, not dealing with unnecessary stress from your employer. The state of California protects workers from these exact situations.