Anyone dealing with the possibility of a workers comp dispute in California should know about 132a claims. What is a 132a claim? It is the section of California Labor Law that protects injured workers and witnesses of Workers’ Compensation claims from discrimination and termination.
California Labor Code Section 132a provides that “[i]t is the declared policy of this state that there should not be discrimination against workers who are injured in the course and scope of their employment.”
Per Labor Code Section 132a, workers are protected from discharge, threats of discharge and discrimination because they have 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.
A Labor Code Section 132a violation can also be a criminal offense in the form of a misdemeanor.
If a violation is found, 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). Further, any such employee shall also be entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by the acts of the employer.
It is important to note that the law also protects employees who have testified or made known his or her intentions to testify in another employee’s case before the appeals board.
In order to pursue a Labor Code Section 132a claim, the worker must file “an appropriate petition with the appeals board, but these proceedings may not be commenced more than one year from the discriminatory act or date of termination of the employee.” If the claim is not resolved, the matter will most likely be tried before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
In sum, if you have been discriminated or terminated against, in order to pursue a Labor Code Section 132a action, a petition must be filed within one year from the date of the termination or discriminatory act. If you do not file your petition timely, you will be barred from pursuing your Labor Code Section 132a claim. The Petition must also be verified. This means that the Petition is signed under penalty of perjury.
Besides filing your petition on time, it is important to obtain documents, names of witnesses, and any other pieces of evidence that are relevant to prove your case. You are entitled to receive costs and expenses in the amount of $250.00, if incurred.
Finally, it is always recommended that you consult an attorney concerning your matter. There may be other remedies in the civil arena, which include claims through the EEOC, and DFEH, that you may be able to pursue as well. If you believe that you have a valid Labor Code Section 132a, it is important that you consult with an attorney. Labor Code Section 132a actions can be exceedingly complex to prosecute.
Law Offices of Edward J. Singer
At the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation, we represent our clients with their workers’ compensation claims. The Law Offices have prosecuted Labor Code Section 132a claims and have a number of reported cases on that issue.
With more than 23 years of expertise in defending workers’ rights, we are here to assist. If you have any questions concerning your rights, please do not hesitate to contact our offices. Please contact us today concerning any workers’ compensation questions or issues.