approved report of work injury


During a four month period, a Von’s Grocery Clerk was assaulted three times.

In one incident, he was punched in the face and pepper sprayed.  In the second, someone tried stab him with a knife. In the third,,  he was assaulted by a customer. The customer was possibly inebriated and allegedly harassed female shoppers. The man got in worker’s face when the employee went to get his manager and a security guard. The worker, as reported in the news, recounted the incident:   “He’s[the customer was] cussing me out, he’s threatening my life.”  “I back away, he comes back in my face. I back away again. The third time I defend myself, I push him off of me.” KGET

Vons reportedly terminated the Worker’s employment because he touched a customer. KGET

The Grocery clerk claimed he applied for worker’s compensation following the three assaults because he was having nightmares and panic attacks.

Upon his return to work from the last incident, the Employee noticed his hours had been cut, and he was suspended pending an investigation. Nine days later, the store terminated his employment because he touched a customer. KGET

If The Clerk Was Terminated, Can He Still Pursue His Work Injury Claims?

Yes.  In California, Workers’ Compensation Claims do not end when employment is terminated.   Injured Workers are permitted to pursue their claims post-employment.  They remain eligible to receive both compensation and medical care post-termination

Can The Worker File A Discrimination/Wrongful Termination Through Workers’ Compensation?

Yes. In California Workers’ Compensation Law, Labor Code Section 132a provides that “(1) Any employer who discharges, or threatens to discharge, or in any manner discriminates against any employee because he or she has file d or made know 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 cause by the acts of the employer.”

In this instance, the fact pattern contained two allegations.  One claim is for the hours being cut.   The other allegation is for wrongful termination.

The Employer, in this instance, can raise a defense.  Business necessity is recognized as a defense to LC 132a claims.

In this matter, the Employer alleges that the termination was due to the employee touching a customer.  As such, the facts in the matter are in controversy.  As such, a trier of fact, aka Workers’ Compensation Judge, would be the one to rule as to whether there was discrimination and as to whether there was a legitimate business necessity defense.

What if I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 30 years. Contact us today for more information.

Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Taxable?

Many workers’ compensation benefit recipients wonder if their benefits are taxable like other forms of income. Generally, workers’ compensation benefits are classified as a non-taxable income. There is, however, one exception. Read on to learn more about Labor Code Section 132a & workers’ compensation.

Labor Code Section 132a

If your workers’ compensation claim involved the Labor Code Section 132a action for discrimination, you may incur a tax obligation.  Labor Code Section 132a action allows you to seek benefits such as lost wages and other benefits if you are wrongfully terminated or otherwise discriminated against.

If you are able to try and be awarded back pay or back benefits, back pay would be considered taxable.  Further, other benefits, such as payment of a bonus, would also be considered taxable.

If a Labor Code Section 132a Claim is Settled

Some Defendant’s request that a portion of the settlement is considered as payment of wage and therefore be considered taxable income. In those circumstances, a skillful attorney can work on limiting tax exposure.   Usually, you will receive a 1099 tax form from your employer in those circumstances.  It is very important that you consult an accountant or tax preparer to ascertain the amount of taxes you will owe.  If you do owe money, it is recommended that you set aside some money so that you can make your tax payment.

Law Offices of Edward J. Singer

At the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, we specialize in helping our clients with their workers’ compensation claims. With more than 20 years of expertise in defending workers’ rights, we are here to assist with any questions a person in Southern or Central California who receives workers’ compensation may have. We welcome anyone who needs assistance to contact us today concerning any workers’ comp questions or issues.

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