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Employee Rights: Returning After Workers’ Comp in CA

A Guide for Injured Employees in California

In California, workers' compensation laws are designed to provide financial assistance and medical care to employees who suffer from work-related injuries or illnesses. Under this system, employees can be entitled to certain benefits, such as medical treatment, wage replacement, and compensation for any temporary or permanent disabilities.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the legal rights and responsibilities of employees returning to work after receiving workers’ comp benefits following a workplace injury or accident. Keep reading to learn more about injured workers’ rights to workers’ compensation in California.

Understanding California Workers’ Comp Laws

The workers' compensation system in California is governed by a set of laws and regulations that serve to protect employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, including:

California Labor Code

The California Labor Code contains numerous provisions related to workers' compensation, including:

  • Employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees (§3200)
  • Employers are liable for injuries sustained by employees arising out of and in the course of employment (§3600)
  • Employers are obligated to provide appropriate medical treatment and care for eligible injured workers (§4600)

California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB)

The WCAB is a judicial body that adjudicates workers' compensation disputes and oversees the workers' compensation system in California. The WCAB is responsible for resolving disputes between injured employees and employers or insurance carriers.

California Workers' Compensation Administration

The Workers' Compensation Administration is part of the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) and is responsible for overseeing the administration of workers' comp claims in California. The DWC ensures compliance with the workers' compensation laws, establishes and enforces rules and regulations, and provides information and assistance to injured workers.

California Workers' Compensation Reform

Over the years, California has enacted several workers’ comp reform measures aimed at improving the overall efficiency and fairness of the workers’ compensation system. These reforms have introduced changes to various aspects of California labor laws, such as medical treatment guidelines, utilization review processes, and the calculation of disability benefits.

California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

The FEHA is a comprehensive anti-discrimination law that protects employees from discrimination based on protected characteristics, such as disability or prior workers' compensation claims. It also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their workers' compensation rights.

What Are My Rights After Returning from a Workplace Injury?

Suffering a workplace injury can be a challenging experience, but with the support of workers' compensation, employees in California can take advantage of the opportunity to recover and eventually return to work.

Just as your employee rights are protected in the event that you sustain a workplace injury or illness, you also have rights upon returning to work after a workers’ comp claim. It’s crucial for recovering workers to understand their employee rights after they return to the workplace, including:

The right to reasonable workplace accommodations.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California state laws, injured employees are entitled to request reasonable accommodations at work to ensure a smooth transition after an injury. To be considered “reasonable,” the requested accommodation must not pose an undue burden on the employer or company as a whole.

Examples include modified work tasks as a means to accommodate physical or cognitive limitations due to the injury; providing specialized equipment or tools, such as assistive technologies; adjusting work schedules to provide more flexible hours or accommodate remote work; or providing additional breaks throughout the workday.

The right to job security.

Returning employees are protected by various laws in California, such as the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These laws provide eligible employees with job protection during their leave for workplace injuries. Upon returning to work, employees generally have the right to be reinstated to their previous position or an equivalent position without suffering any adverse consequences.

The right to protection against discrimination and retaliation.

It’s illegal for California employers to discriminate against employees on the grounds of certain protected characteristics, such as disability or prior workers' compensation claims. Employees have the right to be treated fairly, meaning they shouldn’t face any negative repercussions or retaliation for exercising their right to workers’ compensation.

It’s crucial for employees to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney if they suspect any discriminatory or retaliatory actions against them upon their return to work, as a qualified legal advocate can help protect their rights and hold their employer accountable for workplace violations and misconduct.

The right to continued medical treatment.

Even after returning to work, employees have the right to continue receiving necessary medical treatment for their workplace injury. Workers' compensation insurance should cover reasonable and essential medical expenses related to the employee’s injury, such as doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, medication, and medical equipment. It’s important for workers to keep track of all medical appointments and bills related to their injuries to fortify their claims with sufficient evidence.

The right to seek legal representation.

As you can probably tell, navigating workers' compensation laws can be complex—especially for employees dealing with the pain and financial stress of a workplace injury or illness. That's why it's critical for injured workers to seek reliable representation when needed. A qualified workers’ comp attorney can prevent workers from being mistreated or retaliated against after returning to the workplace. Your lawyer can help you exercise your rights, restore your freedom, and fight to obtain maximum compensation on your behalf.

Experienced Advocacy for Workers’ Comp Claims in CA

Our passionate workers’ comp lawyers have a longstanding reputation for obtaining justice on behalf of hardworking employees throughout Southern California. With over half a billion dollars won for our clients, you can count on Alvandi Law Group, P.C. to keep your best interests at heart from start to finish. We have over 75 years of collective experience, making us well-equipped to represent injured workers in a variety of workers’ comp cases, from toxic exposure to catastrophic injuries. Reach out to our office to learn how we can collaborate with you to secure the compensation you deserve.

Were you mistreated after a workplace injury? Our workers’ comp attorneys can fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. Call (800) 980-6905 to schedule a free consultation.


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