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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39045
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I was fired yesterday from a contract job. My problem is I

Customer Question

I was fired yesterday from a contract job. My problem is I was terminated at 0720 AM and forced to continue working a 12 hour shift taking care of critical patients in the ER there was no one to relief me. Leaving on my own would have been patient abdonment, which would have cost me my RN license. My question is there any liabilty on their part for forcing me to continue to work with an altered emtional status. I was of course depressed.

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 4 years ago.

Under the California Labor Code, an employer that permits or suffers the labor of a worker must compensate the employee for that labor. You can demand to be paid for the additional 12 hours at your regular rate of pay and if the employer refuses, you can file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). See this link.

Hope this helps.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I wanted to know if I can sue them for emotional distress because I was forced to work in an altered mental and emotional state. My choice would have been to leave.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 4 years ago.
Sorry for the delay (buried).

Because you were "working," you remain subject to the workers' compensation (WC) laws. The WC laws provide an employer with absolute immunity from liability for any injury caused to an employee. All injuries must be processed through the Department of Workers' Compensation. The only exception is where an employer willfully and maliciously injures an employee (e.g., physical assault, attempted murder, etc.).

Unfortunately, while I understand and empathize with your circumstances, California law, and actually, the law of every other U.S. jurisdiction, uniformily would bar your proposed legal action. If you are so severely injured by the mental distress of being forced to work without pay, then you can file a workers compensation claim (DWC-1). But, you cannot sue -- the case would be dismissed by the court.

Please don't shoot the messenger here. I'm really trying to help, but I don't want you running off on a wild goose chase, either.

Hope this helps.