Can Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim Negatively Affect Your Future Employment?

May 30, 2024

Filing a workers’ compensation claim in the state of California can be a source of concern for all injured workers, particularly regarding potential future employment implications. However, these apprehensions are largely unfounded and unnecessary.

As any well-versed work injury lawyer in Los Angeles can tell you, the California legislative system provides strong protections that have been implemented for workers against retaliation and discrimination due to filing a workers comp claim. 

Below, we’ll explore how filing a work injury claim may impact future employment and the legal protections in place for all injured workers, including the penalties employers face for non-compliance.

Legal Protections for Injured Workers in the State of California

In California, several statutes protect workers from retaliation and discrimination resulting from filing a workers’ compensation claim against their employer. These laws ensure that employees can exercise their rights and file work injury claims without fear of adverse consequences and/or retaliation.

California Labor Code Section 132a

California Labor Code Section 132a explicitly prohibits discrimination against employees who file a workers’ compensation claim. This statute aims to protect all injured workers in CA. from any form of retaliation, including termination, demotion, reduction in pay, or any other punitive or adverse actions.

Can Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim Negatively Affect Your Future Employment


“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.”

California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

FEHA also offers protection against discrimination and retaliation by employers in the workplace. Although this law primarily focuses on discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, and other factors, FEHA’s provisions can extend to retaliatory actions following a workers’ compensation claim by an injured worker in CA., particularly if the injury leads to a disability.

Whistleblower Protection Act

California Labor Code Section 1102.5 provides broad protections for employees who report violations of law or regulations to government agencies, including unsafe working conditions that could lead to filing a workers’ compensation claim. This law strictly prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for such actions.

Penalties for Employers

Employers who violate these CA State laws by retaliating against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim will face significant penalties.

Fines and Misdemeanor Charges

Under Labor Code Section 132a, employers found guilty of discrimination or retaliation can face misdemeanor charges. The penalties include:

  • Increased Compensation: The employee’s compensation is increased by 50%, up to a maximum of $10,000.
  • Costs and Expenses: The employee can recover costs and expenses up to $250.
  • Reinstatement: The employee is entitled to reinstatement to their former position.
  • Reimbursement for Lost Wages: The employee can recover lost wages and work benefits resulting from the employer’s actions.

Civil Penalties under FEHA

Under FEHA, employers who discriminate or retaliate against employees with disabilities (including those resulting from work injuries) can face:

  • Damages: Compensation for lost wages, benefits, and emotional distress.
  • Punitive Damages: In cases of egregious conduct, courts can award punitive damages.
  • Legal Fees: Employers may be required to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees.

Impact on Future Employment

While legal protections are robust, the practical concern remains about whether filing a workers’ compensation claim can indirectly affect future employment prospects. Here are some key considerations:

Background Checks

Employers typically do not have access to workers’ compensation claim records during standard background checks. Medical information and workers’ compensation claims are confidential and protected by privacy laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Disclosure Requirements

Job applicants are not required to disclose past workers’ compensation claims. However, if the claim resulted in a permanent disability, this might be evident during pre-employment physicals or if the disability affects job performance.

Retaliation by Prospective Employers

Although illegal, some prospective employers might hold a bias against hiring individuals with a history of workers’ compensation claims, fearing higher insurance costs or potential for future claims. Legal protections exist, but proving such discrimination can be challenging.


work injury lawyer Los Angeles

Filing a workers’ compensation claim in California is a right protected by California labor laws, and there are powerful legal safeguards to prevent and penalize employer retaliation on injured workers. California Labor Code Section 132a, FEHA, and other statutes ensure that employees can pursue the work injury benefits they are entitled to without fear of adverse consequences or retaliation. Employers who retaliate face significant penalties, including fines, misdemeanor charges, and liability for damages incurred.

While legal protections are robust for all injured workers in the State of California, practical challenges remain in the system. It’s essential for all injured workers to be aware of their rights as employees and to seek legal advice from an experienced work injury lawyer in CA if they suspect any form of retaliation or discrimination due to filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Which work injury lawyer near me in Los Angeles can best help me realize my rights?

If you have any concerns about your specific work injury compensation or circumstances surrounding your situation, do not hesitate to contact LA Accident Pros for strategic assistance and mindful guidance. We offer free consultation via telephone, all video chat platforms, and in person at our offices near MacArthur Park by appointment. Don’t leave your financial future to chance. Reach out to us today and ensure you have a partner invested in your well-being!

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