Here’s good news: When an employee claims she was fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim, she can’t pursue the lawsuit as a wrongful-discharge claim. She’s required to sue under the workers’ compensation law.
Recent case: Michelle hurt her back at work while trying to drag a cart across an icy surface. Three months later, she was fired, allegedly for gossiping at work after being counseled against it and for altering a check she received from her employer.
She sued, alleging retaliation and wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.
Her employer argued she couldn’t sue separately (and possibly recover a huge award) under common law when the workers’ compensation law also allows a lawsuit based on retaliation.
The court agreed she was limited to her workers’ compensation claim. (Dutra v. Mercy Medical Center, No. C067169, Court of Appeal of California, 2012)