There are plenty of major shakeups in a workplace that could lead to wrongful termination. Some employers fire workers who were there for decades to get some younger talent, and some companies retaliate employees who file a complaint of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, some have felt the wrath of their company's cruel employee treatments when they are physically at their most vulnerable.
Companies in California should provide workers' compensation for employees that get major injuries on the job. With how much these injuries the cost and how it affects the injured worker's productivity, some employers try to find a way to get rid of them.
Over the years, more employers have become aware that simply firing the worker after the injury is an easy lawsuit for the employee. As a result, many of them have tried other unethical methods that risk the worker's health and reputation to avoid paying for workers' compensation. It is important to be aware of these methods if you get injured at work.
Find another reason to fire the worker
Workers that file for workers' compensation at companies not willing to pay for it may find themselves walking on thin ice in the following work weeks. Employers may monitor them closely and try to find any mistake they perform on the job as an excuse to get rid of them early.
If the worker is doing fine at their job, some may try to make it appear like they made a mistake. Last year, a former Chipotle worker gained national attention after her employers fired her for supposedly stealing cash from the restaurants safe.
When she and her lawyer asked her employers to provide video evidence, the company revealed they destroyed it. A court in California later determined that the company attempted to frame her for robbery after filing a workers' compensation claim for carpal tunnel on her wrist and forced them to pay her $7.9 million.
"Prove" they are not truly injured
There have been plenty of cases where the workers are guilty of fraud by faking their injuries, giving some employers reasons to remain suspicious when someone files a claim for workers' compensation. However, some companies take these suspicions too far and may end up violating the law in the process.
One of the most common methods companies use to determine if a worker is faking their injury is to hire a private investigator. These people spy on the employee during their daily activities to see how their injury affects them outside of work. If they spot the slightest contradiction to the worker's claims or how they behave at their job, the employer can try to use this against him.
Last year, the Charlotte Observer highlighted the desperate lengths one North Carolina company took to avoid paying for over a decade's worth of workers' compensation benefits. After multiple failed trips to reverse the court's decision, they hired a private investigator to spy on the injured worker and frame him for insurance fraud. While few cases have been this severe, it does show the lengths some companies are willing to go to avoid paying for workers' compensation.
When workers are injured on the job, California employers should do all they can to make their employees feel safe, not fear for their futures. If you or a loved one were wrongfully terminated from a job, consider contacting an employment law attorney to help you fight back.