Understanding Workers’ Compensation and Its Impact on Future Employment in California
Returning to work after an injury or illness can be a stressful experience, particularly for those dealing with the workers’ compensation system in California. It’s important to understand that it’s illegal for a future employer to deny you a job due to a previous workers’ compensation claim. However, not all employers are honest, and concerns may arise about what you should reveal to a potential employer, how you can explain your employment gap, and how your claim will affect your future employment.
Your Rights: Applying for a Job After a Workers’ Comp Claim
Understanding your rights regarding your workers’ comp history is crucial. An employer cannot ask you about mental or physical disabilities, health conditions, or previous workers’ compensation claims. They also cannot refuse to hire you due to a disabling condition or previous injury. However, an employer can ask if you can fulfill the position’s job-related functions and require a psychological or medical exam if they make a job offer and it’s necessary for business and job-related functions.
The Role of Background Checks in Employment
While a potential employer cannot legally screen you for a prior workers’ comp claim, they can perform a background check. An appealed claim is a public record and a background check may reveal prior claims that were denied and made it to the appeals board. It may also show any legal actions taken against your former employer. An employer can access your workers’ comp records through the WCAB only if the injury would affect your ability to perform the job duties required by the position.
Working While Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim
You can continue working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, if your primary treating physician (PTP) gives you restrictions, both you and your employer must respect them. If your employer cannot accommodate all of your restrictions, you will be unable to work until your PTP lifts or modifies them.
Balancing Multiple Jobs or Finding a New One
Every job you work must honor your PTP’s work restrictions. If only one can accommodate them, you’ll only be able to work that job until your PTP modifies or lifts the restrictions that they cannot work with. If it’s impossible to keep working your job based on your PTP’s restrictions, you can look for a new one that can accommodate them. However, it’s possible that it can impact your workers’ comp benefits, and you should discuss your options with a workers’ comp attorney.
The Impact of Continuing Work on Your Workers’ Comp Case
If you and your employer honor your work restrictions, continuing to work won’t hurt your claim. You should always follow your PTP’s advice and listen to your body. Your health comes first. If you believe that your employer or PTP is pushing you to go back to work before your body is ready, a workers’ comp attorney can help you find a new PTP that will have your best interests at heart.
Ensuring a Smooth Transition: Filing Your Claim Right
Most employers know that workers’ comp insurance is a standard expense and that it’s in place to protect everyone involved in an incident. If you have a previous claim, prospective employers shouldn’t hold it against you. However, you can take some steps when filing your claim and applying for new jobs to help increase your appeal to new employers. Be honest with your claims and only apply for work that your medical provider cleared you for.
Seeking Legal Help: The Role of a Workers’ Comp Attorney
The best way to ensure that a workers’ compensation claim doesn’t negatively impact your future employment opportunities is by working with a workers’ comp attorney. At California Injury Lawyer, we can help you navigate the workers’ comp system and help you ensure that your record doesn’t affect your future employment. Injured workers in need of legal help can call California Injury Lawyer at (844) 584-8444 for a free consultation. We have extensive litigation experience in this area and are ready to help you navigate the complexities of workers’ compensation and future employment in California.