California has some of the strongest and most comprehensive legal protections for injured workers in the entire country. Under California law (Labor Code § 132(a)), all employees covered by workers’ compensation have a right to file for benefits. An employer cannot lawfully discriminate against them, retaliate against them, or otherwise take adverse action against them because they filed.
As an employer in California, you may have questions about how LC 132(a) violations are handled. A California business or organization that violates this section of the Labor Code could face a number of different penalties. Here, our Bakersfield workers’ compensation defense lawyer explains the potential sanctions that an employer in California could face for an LC 132(a) violation.
Workers’ Compensation Surcharge: Increase in Benefits of 50% Up to $10,000.00
In California, LC 132(a) carries statutory penalties. An employer that violates this section of the state’s workers’ compensation laws will be required to pay the affected employee increased workers’ compensation benefits. Specifically, the employer must increase the compensation benefits by 50%, up to a maximum cap of $10,000.00. The penalty aims to discourage employers from engaging in discriminatory practices that infringe on an injured worker’s rights.
Employee Can Pursue Other Compensatory Damages (Back Wages, Reinstatement, etc.)
Beyond the workers’ compensation surcharge, employees who have been victims of a violation of LC 132(a) have additional legal remedies at their disposal. They can seek to recover other compensatory damages. Among other things, this may include back wages, which refers to the wages the employee would have earned if the employer had not violated their rights. Notably, if an employee was wrongfully terminated for filing for workers’ compensation benefits, they may seek reinstatement. These additional remedies can add up to considerable financial liability for the employer, further emphasizing the importance of adhering to workers’ compensation laws.
Labor Code Section 132(a) Damages are Uninsurable as a Matter of California Law
California law stipulates that damages resulting from a violation of LC 132(a) are uninsurable. In other words, employers cannot obtain insurance coverage that would protect them from the financial penalties associated with violating LC 132(a). Your workers’ compensation policy cannot offer coverage for any LC 132(a) penalties as a matter of California law. The provision ensures that employers face the full weight of the penalties and cannot shift these costs onto an insurer. As a result, employers must exercise extra caution and diligence in complying with workers’ compensation laws to avoid potentially severe financial repercussions.
Get Help From Our Bakersfield, CA Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney Today
At Yrulegui & Roberts, our Bakersfield worker’s compensation defense law firm provides zealous, effective legal advocacy to clients. If you are a business or organization that is facing a claim for an alleged LC 132(a), we are here to protect your rights and defend your interests. Contact us today to set up your completely confidential initial appointment. We advocate for employers in workers’ compensation defense cases in Bakersfield, Kern County, and throughout the wider region.