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April 2007


Workers' Compensation Denied

Workers' Compensation Denied


Employees must file a workers’ compensation claim before termination or layoff in order to be eligible for benefits. Workers’ compensation law was written to avoid retaliatory filings by disgruntled former employees. Once employees are injured, they must report the injury as soon as possible or risk not being covered.

This case is unpublished and therefore cannot be relied upon as precedent by courts in the future, but it provides useful guidance regarding the obligations of an employee when a workplace injury occurs. It is important for employers to follow consistent protocol when a workplace injury occurs. As demonstrated in this case, the employer’s credible testimony that protocol had not been followed indicated that no report of an injury occurred. Chavez v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (March 23, 2007) 2007 U.S. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2354.

What Should You Do?
・Immediately provide employees with workers’ compensation claim forms when learning of an injury and follow that practice consistently.
・Document all reports of workplace injuries as they are received.

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・At will の自由意志契約であることを確認する。継続して雇用するという約束はできないことを再確認。


Fire First, Ask Questions Later?
California employers cannot immediately terminate employees when their visas expire unless it is clear and undisputed that their status cannot be remedied. Individuals who have the opportunity to transfer their expired visas to some other form of legal work authorization should be given the opportunity to do so. In certain circumstances, a reasonable unpaid leave of absence may be required. An employee's immigrant status does not affect the requirement in California that "good cause" employment terminations must be lawful.

Employees should have an opportunity to gather documents or otherwise prove their immigration status without losing their job. According to the court, placing employees on unpaid leave for a reasonable period furthers the intent of IRCA by ensuring unauthorized workers are not getting paid. At the same time, it protects legal immigrants from being terminated without an opportunity to remedy their status. Incalza v. Fendi North America (9th Cir., March 6, 2007) 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 5196.

What Should You Do?
Protect the at-will employment relationship by not making promises of continued employment.
Treat similarly situated employees similarly.
Understand the employment rights of noncitizen workers.

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