Workers' Compensation: What Employees Need to Know

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District Attorney's OfficeAllison Haley, District Attorney

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Workers' Compensation Coverage: What Employees need to know

Whether you are a citizen, a legal resident or an undocumented alien regularly employed, or a day laborer receiving cash, you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits if you are injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is a benefit provided to employees who are injured on the job. Employees must provide this compensation either by obtaining workers’ compensation insurance coverage or by certifying to the State of California that they are self-insured. It is illegal for an employer to operate without workers’ compensation coverage for their workers.  (California Labor Code Section 3700.5)

Legally required posting of Workers' Compensation Insurance Information 

An employer must post in a conspicuous place, the following information in English, and in Spanish, if there are Spanish speaking workers:
  • How to get emergency treatment;  
  • The kinds of events, illnesses and injuries covered by workers’ compensation;
  • Injured worker’s right to receive medical care;
  • Worker’s right to select a treating physician;
  • Worker’s right to receive temporary disability, permanent disability, indemnity, rehabilitation and death benefits;
  • To whom to report injuries;  
  • Protections against discrimination; and
  • Location and telephone number of assistance officer.

Failure by an employer to post the above information is illegal.  (California Labor Code Section 3550)

Discouragement of Claim is Illegal

It is illegal for an employer or his agents, such as supervisors or foremen, to make misrepresentations to deny or discourage an injured worker from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. (California Insurance Code Section 1871.4) An employer may not offer incentives or threaten and discourage workers from claiming a work-related injury.  This is ILLEGAL. If your employer does any of the following after you have been injured at work, notify the District Attorney’s Office:

  • Asks or tells you to tell the hospital or doctor the injury did not happen at work;
  • Asks or tells you to use your health care insurance to cover the work-related injury;  
  • Asks you to tell the hospital or the doctor that the employer is self-insured and will pay the expenses directly;
  • Tells you to pay for the medical treatment and he will reimburse you;
  • Makes promises or assurances that they will pay you for the injuries if you cooperate;  
  • Does not give you information or forms necessary to file a claim; or threatens to fire you (See Retaliation/Discrimination ).

If your supervisor, foreman or employer refuses to provide medical care, refuses to provide assistance with the necessary claim paperwork following a work-related injury or offers you incentives not to report the injury as work related:

  • Follow the posted procedure, if possible;
  • Seek medical help and tell the doctor and/or hospital that the injury is work related
  • Be sure to get information identifying the employer, such as CSLB license number and name and address;
  • If there are any witnesses to your injury, write down who they are and get their contact information;
  • If there are witnesses to your employer’s refusal to provide assistance or offers of incentives, write down who they are and get their contact information; and
  • Notify the Napa County District Attorney’s Office immediately. 

Retaliation/Discrimination

It is illegal for an employer to discharge, threaten to discharge, or in any way discriminate or retaliate against a worker because:

  • The worker stated their intention to file a workers’ compensation claim;
  • The worker filed a workers’ compensation claim; or
  • The worker received a rating, award or settlement.