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What can my boss do, or not do, if I get hurt on the job?

Even though workers in the San Diego area probably know that workers' compensation benefits are available for almost all work-related illnesses and injuries, they may still feel uncomfortable with filing a claim since it can be hard to predict how an employer will respond. After all, no employer like to pay more money for an injured worker, especially if the worker is not able to come to work for a while.

The two big things for California employees to remember are first, that an employer cannot fire or otherwise discipline an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim. There are some limits to this rule, such as if they employee got hurt while also violating an established workplace rule, but generally speaking, an injured worker should not have to worry about having a job when he or she recovers.

Second, employers, and only employers, are the ones who must provide and pay for workers' compensation insurance. An employer may not require employees to share the cost of this state-mandated benefit.

Employers have other obligations as well, such as posting a sign and otherwise providing information to employees about workers' compensation. They also have to provide claim forms promptly after an injury and forward the employee's claim appropriately. They also must give clearance for some medical payments, as the worker likely will have immediate expenses and bills.

Employers do have the right to insist upon their employee returning to work when a doctor gives the employee clearance to do so. The employer must observe all restrictions the doctor puts in place until such restrictions are lifted, and this could mean modifying the employee's job description or even giving an alternative job.

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