Q: Immigration and workers comp
My mother who is an immigrant and an employee of a company where she works as a farm worker in California, was recently put on workers comp due to her having nausea and dizziness that made it unsafe for her to work. after getting the OK from her doctor to go back to work, she went to the main office to let them know that she can go back to work, however they wanted a written note from the doctor, which meant my mother had to wait another whole week for the doctors appointment which she was not payed for, then earlier this week, then earlier this week they told her that all jobs were filled and that when one comes available that they will contact her. Is there any legal action that she can take?
A: Labor Code 132(a) makes it a misdemeanor crime for the employer to demote or terminate an injured worker just because they requested workers comp benefits. The trouble here is the employer can defend by claiming it really had nothing available for Mom with her skill set. CAN MOM PROVE that this employer has openings?? Is this employer hiring workers with Mom's skill set to go out every day?? Is this employer advertising what Mom did on Craigslist ?? The next problem is the lack of a valid Social Security number. When the complaint is filed and the employer or insurer (or both) check the SSN and it comes back invalid, the employer then claims it would hire Mom but it can't because that's a violaton of law. If Mom has a good Green Card or good Social Security number, she is entitled to State Disability Insurance through EDD. but with no valid SSN, EDD will reject her claim and then the WCAB Judge won't order the employer to re-hire her because that's illegal. You might write a letter to the insurance adjuster noting Mom is due back wages and re-hiring under Calif. LC 132a and see if the adjuster in instructed by the Comp Insurer to rehire mom.
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