After an Accident — Talking to Your Employer
While most serious accident injuries require hospitalization and a period of recovery, most people don’t immediately think of protecting their job after they’ve had a car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle accident. This is unfortunate since a number of problems could be avoided if injured workers simply asserted the legal rights granted to them under the law. While California is an “at will” employment state — allowing employers to fire workers for little or no reason — workers cannot be fired for asserting their legal rights. Under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), eligible employees have a right to take up to 12 weeks of medical leave without worry of losing their job. If an employer fires a worker for taking leave under FMLA or CFRA, that employer can be sued for financial damages.
Taking Medical Leave After an Accident
Once you are able to speak with your employer’s human resources department, you’ll need to file certain forms and provide information from your doctor regarding when you are able to return to work. (It’s important to remember, however, that companies that employ fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the requirements of CFRA; if you work for a small business with fewer than 50 employees, you should talk to your employer and get any agreement between you in writing.) In order to take medical leave under FMLA or CFRA, it’s necessary that you be employed with your current employer for at least 12 months prior to your request.
If you’ve suffered broken bones, a concussion or whiplash, you may be able to return to work in less than 12 weeks. Here, your employer will likely require a note from your doctor indicating when you are ready to return to work. If your employer tries to pressure you into returning to work before your doctor has indicated you are ready and before your 12 weeks of FMLA/CFRA is over, you should talk to an employment law attorney.
After Your Injuries Have Healed – Returning to Work After an Accident
California and federal law require that employees be allowed to return to the same job after a leave of medical absence. If your job has been eliminated for legitimate reasons, your employer is required to provide you with a similar job or one that pays roughly the same, offers the same kinds of opportunities and involves duties similar to your old one. However, if an employer can prove that an employee would have been laid off anyway or that a comparable job isn’t available, the employee doesn’t have a right to return to work.
San Francisco Personal Injury Attorneys Weber & Nierenberg
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car, truck, bike, construction, or slip and fall accident, we can help you take steps to protect your job while ensuring any employment or medical benefits you are eligible to receive are activated for you. To discuss your case and learn how we can help you, contact San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today.