Can I sue my employer for laying me off while on workers’ comp?

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Can I sue my employer for laying me off while on workers’ comp?

I was injured 5 months ago at work and am currently on workers’ comp. I do have an attorney who is handling the case. Meanwhile, I just got a letter today from my employer that my position is being elimated due to the warehouse closing. My job responsibilities included the warehouse, as well as other job duties like AP and purchasing duties. I believe that I am being let go due to my injury. I had to threaten my employer due to short pay on my last check which was eventually received. I also was sent texts from my employer at midnight harassing me stating that I should call them due to items left behind. Also, prior to my injury my employer attempted to not give me my vacation time and holiday pay which I took anyway and for which I was paid. However, I believe due to this, as well as demanding my final days pay, made them lay me off. Do I have any grounds for suing them for harrassment or wrongful termination?

Asked on May 4, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the facts. While an employee may not terminated due to a medical condition or injury, he or she may be terminated or laid off due to other legitimate, non-injury/medical/disability-related reasons, such as RIF, closing locations or departments, restructuring, etc. So if the warehouse was part of your responsibility and this warehouse was closed, that would very likely legally justify your termination: if part of your job is eliminated, they are entitled to eliminate you, too, rather than retain you when there is less need for you. It would be difficult to show that the termination was unjustified when part of your job responsibilities are eliminated due to closing a location or department (warehouse).
On the other hand, if the warehouse did not close, then you would seem to have a good cause for this being illegal disability-related discrimination and/or retaliation for you filing a worker's compensation claim.


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