California Employment Law
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The law prohibits employers from taking adverse employment action against an employee because that employee was involved in a workplace accident or because they filed a workers comp claim. However, these things are distinct from terminating an employee because their absence is causing the company to incur hardship. With only one full time employee, no law prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for missing work due to injury or illness. The key is THAT being the reason rather than the fact that the employee was simply involved in an accident at work or filed for workers comp.
Given that 4 months have already passed, it would be extremely hard for this employee to argue that their termination was in retaliation for having a workplace accident or filing for workers comp. If it was your intent to retaliate for those things, you would have fired them right away. In general, when an employee is terminated months after a work-related injury and the employer can demonstrate some sort of hardship by continuing to hold the employee's position, there will not be any legal exposure. Termination under such circumstances falls squarely within the rights of the employer.
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