But I Was Afraid I'd Be Fired!

But I Was Afraid I'd Be Fired!

"I was afraid to report my work accident because I thought my employer might fire me." During the hundreds of depositions I’ve been involved with, this is the phrase I hear the most.

The fact of the matter is, however, your employer not only wants you to report your work injury, but, by law, they must encourage you to do so and on a timely basis. All employers within the State of California are familiar with California Labor Code §132(a) which provides severe penalties in instances in which an employer is found to have “discriminated” against an employee for having filed a claim for workers compensation – and discrimination in this sense can, and often does, mean termination. In addition to financial penalties, additional provision is made for reinstatement and back wages. If an individual delays in reporting his or her injury due to ungrounded fear or otherwise, it makes the employer’s job harder. Delayed reporting can retard the necessary employer accident investigations and risk injury to other employees if a dangerous condition remains unaddressed. It may also raise unwarranted suspicions regarding the validity of the injury. Also, and as I mentioned in an earlier article, an individual may (ironically) be terminated for failing to report his or her injury on a timely basis pursuant to some company manuals. Accordingly, fear need not be part of the equation.

*The above article was published in the May 2012 edition of The Magazine of Santa Clarita ~ www.santaclaritamagazine.com. All rights reserved.

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