Turns out, the question “Can a California employer legally cut my hours after I file a workers’ compensation claim?” bothers a large number of workers in our state. Today, our Van Nuys workers’ compensation attorney is finally going to address that question.
Typically, employers in California are prohibited from cutting their employees’ work hours or retaliating against employees in any other manner after the employee files a workers’ comp claim. However, if your employer can prove that his or her actions do not constitute “retaliation,” his/her decision to cut your hours will be deemed lawful.
‘Can my employer cut my hours after filing a workers’ comp claim?’
Our workers’ compensation attorney Van Nuys from Koszdin, Fields & Sherry has recently received the following question from one of our readers, Kate, who had been injured in the course of her employment in Los Angeles.
“Hello, my name is Kate and I’m a waitress at one of the top restaurants in Los Angeles. A few months ago, I slipped and fell during my night shift, and, as a result, injured my lower back. After the workplace injury, I took a few weeks off work because I could barely walk. After a month or so, the pain in my lower back was fading away, which is why my doctor recommended that I return to work and see if I can handle my usual workload. Luckily, although I did feel some pain in the lower back I managed to keep up with my job duties. However, for some reason, my employer called me and said my work hours would be cut in half despite the fact that my productivity and performance were not impacted by the injury. My employer did not cut anyone else’s hours, just mine. Is that retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim?”
California employers prohibited from retaliating against employees
We are very sorry to hear about your circumstances. But the good part is that (a) you are not alone, and (b) there is actually a way out. From what our Van Nuys workers’ compensation attorney has just learned from your email, it sure looks as though what your employer did was unlawful and could constitute retaliation.
In California, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for filing a workers’ comp claim after an on-the-job injury or illness. Cutting an employee’s hours can be one of the many forms of retaliation. Other forms of retaliation include but are not limited to:
- Threatening to fire or take any other adverse employment action;
- Wrongful termination;
- Unjustified discipline or punishment;
- Denial of rights and benefits;
- Demotion; and
- Many others.
If your employer has done any of the above after you filed your workers’ compensation claim after a workplace injury, do not hesitate to contact an experienced workers compensation attorney in Van Nuys, Los Angeles or elsewhere in California to find out about your best course of action.
Can you prove that your employer cutting your hours constitutes retaliation?
However, just because your employer decided to cut your hours in half after applying for workers’ comp benefits it does not necessarily mean that he or she has done something illegal. After all, despite your filing of a workers’ comp claim, your employer cannot be prohibited from running his/her business and take any employment actions he or she sees fit as long as these actions are based on legitimate business reasons.
More often than not, only a skilled workers’ comp lawyer in Los Angeles or Van Nuys can determine whether your employer’s actions constitute retaliation or he/she had a legitimate business reason for cutting your hours or taking any other adverse employment action against you.
If you and your lawyer can demonstrate evidence of retaliation, you may be able to collect a significant penalty. Not only will you be reimbursed for the loss of wages that occurred as a result of illegally cutting your hours, but will also increase your workers’ comp checks by 50 percent up to a maximum of $10,000.
Speak to our lawyers from Koszdin, Fields & Sherry to find out whether or not your employer has retaliated against you by reducing your hours. Contact our law firm by calling at 818-812-5639 or 800-747-3447 for a free case evaluation.