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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 9745
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Hello Today at a branch meeting in front of 50 employees

Resolved Question:

Today at a branch meeting in front of 50 employees of the owners of this private corporation harassed me in front of the entire group. He questioned me about a recent workman's compensation Dr. visit and went on to ask me what the diagnosis was. Then complained about the $1200 fee he has to pay and told me it may not be work related.
He scolded me for not reporting it directly and going to my own Dr. first.
This is what the situation was:
I scratched my eye at work. I reported the incident to the Supervisor on duty( Tuesday May 28th) and asked if I should fill out an injury report. This Supervisor told me no and said not to worry about it. I reported it again to my direct Supervisor on Friday May 31st. My direct supervisor told me that I had to wait as the office person who handles the workman's comp paperwork was off for the entire week. I ended up seeing my own Dr. after that as my eye was infected and I couldn't wait an entire work week for the office staff to return and give me the paperwork. He also told me that he doubted workman's comp would cover it being that I didn't go the day of the incident.
I was embarrassed and felt extremely uncomfortable discussing my personal affairs in front of a group of 50. Can an employer do this legally in California?I wanted to explain to the owner the actual circumstances of how I tried to report it and the Supervisors didn't want to deal with it but didn't feel like discussing this matter in a branch meeting in front of the entire staff, possibly " throwing 2 Supervisor's under the bus" and dealing with the retaliation.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Good evening and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear about this inappropriate behavior of your boss.

In the state of California, it is illegal to discriminate or retaliate against an employee for filing a workers compensation claim. Specifically, Labor Code 132a states as follows:

"It 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.

(1) Any employer who discharges, or threatens to discharge, or in any manner discriminates against any employee because he or she has 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, 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 caused by the acts of the employer.

While the retaliation you have so far experienced may implicate a section 132a violation, it would be wise to wait and see what if any further retaliatory action is taken against you. If you are demoted, terminated, your job duties modified, or any other action is taken against you that could be regarded as adverse, whether or not your employer has another stated basis for it, you would then have a significant claim for damages plus penalties as provided in section 132a.

Again, at this point, the comments directed toward you may not be severe enough to constitute "discrimination" under 132a, but they are a clear indication of your employer's mindset and are indicative of what may be to come. While you could bring a claim based solely on the embarrassment and humiliation of this public incident (and your feelings of frustration are completely understandable), it would generally be best to wait and see what actual retaliatory action might be taken against you and assert a claim at that point in time.

To assist you in bringing such a claim, there are many attorneys who handle these sorts of cases on a contingency fee basis. If you don't know, a contingency fee arrangement is one in which the attorney receives a portion of the client's settlement or award as his payment, typically 1/3 of the total amount. If there is no recovery, the attorney does not get paid. The client never pays until the settlement or award is obtained (except perhaps to cover the filing costs for his claim).

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Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 9745
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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