Can your employer fire you after returning from a work injury?

A recent work injury forced you to take time off to heal and recover. You are glad your California employer has workers’ comp insurance, but that does not guarantee your job if you recover enough to return to your regular position. 

You found this out the hard way when you learned that you no longer have a position with your company. Learn whether your employer has the legal right to fire you because of your injury. 

Legal grounds for termination

Maybe your company had legal grounds for firing you. The company may lay off employees or close your location, which are legal reasons to terminate employees. Even after making reasonable accommodations for you to return to work in a reduced capacity, you may still find it impossible to perform your new job duties. If that is the case, your company can legally fire you. 

At-will employment

Are you an at-will employee? If you are, the unfortunate fact is that your employer can fire you at any time for almost any reason. While it is illegal to terminate an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim, the same does not apply if you sustained your injury engaging in an activity that goes against company policy. 


You may feel that the company fired you because your recent filing could trigger increased workers’ compensation premiums. If you feel retaliated against, you must gather viable proof to make a case, which may require professional legal assistance and insight. 

Understand and protect your rights after sustaining a work injury. A lack of knowledge could cost you more than your job.