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Discrimination Claims

The California Labor Code prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee for filing for workers' compensation benefits or because of a work-related injury. If an employee successfully proves a violation of Labor Code Section 132a, the employer would be liable for a 50 percent increase in workers' compensation benefits up to $10,000. Additionally, back wages and reinstatement may be awarded and the employer could face a criminal charge. As a general rule, liability for a 132a violation is not covered under a workers' compensation policy, although it may be possible for an employer to obtain coverage as part of an employer's general liability policy.

Employees are often quick to cite discrimination when their position is terminated by the employer or when a disability is not accommodated after filing for workers' compensation. The employee has the burden to prove that the employer intentionally took action against the employee because of a workers’ compensation claim. If the action of the employer serves a valid business purpose exercised in good faith or if the employer takes action for a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason, the alleged discrimination may be successfully defended.  The realities of doing business may provide a defense to the alleged discrimination. Additionally, if the employer finds that it cannot accommodate the injury according to job requirements, termination may be considered a legitimate business necessity.

Labor Code 132a claims are often associated with claims of discrimination under other state and federal laws such as the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the state and federal laws regarding Family Leave, which carry significant monetary penalties. Such claims are outside of the workers' compensation system and often require the involvement of legal specialists in these fields as early as possible.

Our firm has the expertise to counsel our clients in the effort to identify and avoid potential claims of discrimination and to work effectively with other legal specialists when claims of discrimination outside of the field of workers' compensation are filed to avoid duplicative work and to resolve such claims expeditiously and cost-effectively. 



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| Phone: 818-784-7368

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