Employers in California are legally required to provide no-fault workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their staff. When someone is hurt on the job, they have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits without fear of facing retribution. This raises an important question: What rights do employers have when an employee files a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim?
The short answer is that the employer can and should raise their concerns directly to their insurer and/or claims administrator. An employee should not be fired based only on suspicions of a false claim. Here, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense law firm provides an overview of the key things that employers need to know about handling a false work injury claim under California law.
Understanding the Law: California Labor Code §132a
Under California law (California Labor Code §132a), it is official state policy that there “should not be discrimination against workers who are injured in the course and scope of their employment.” An employer that retaliates against an employee because that employee filed workers’ compensation benefits can face serious sanctions. The fact that an employer is convinced that a worker is making a false or even outright fraudulent claim is not sufficient to justify an immediate termination of that employee. An employer risks facing sanctions under Labor Code §132a.
A False Workers’ Compensation Claim Can Be Denied; That is the Appropriate Initial Remedy
That is not to say that employers have no options to handle a false workers’ compensation claim. Quite the contrary, there are a number of potential remedies available. If an employer in Fresno suspects a workers’ compensation claim to be false or exaggerated, the first and most appropriate step is to report their concerns to the claims administrator and/or the insurance claim. A false claim can be denied. The denial will push the claim into a dispute resolution process. During this process, both parties will present evidence to support their stance. If the employee’s claim is genuinely false, the evidence will likely prove that, and the claim can be officially denied.
If a Claim is Proven Fraudulent, an Employee May Be Able to Lawfully Terminate a Worker
While an initial suspicion or denial of a workers’ compensation claim is not grounds for termination, proving a claim is fraudulent is a different matter. Fraudulent claims—assuming that they have already been officially adjudicated as such—can be grounds for lawful termination in many cases. In fact, an employee who commits workers’ compensation fraud against his or her employer could even face serious criminal charges in California.
Contact Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyer for Help
At Yrulegui & Roberts, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense attorneys are committed to protecting the best interests of our clients. If you are facing a Labor Code §132a workers’ compensation retaliation claim, we are here to help you determine the right course of action. Give us a call now or contact us online to arrange your confidential case assessment. We defend employers in Labor Code §132a claims in Fresno, Fresno County, and throughout the surrounding region in Central California.