When you’ve been in a California car accident, you’ve had an experience that has probably caused you a lot of stress. You may have lost the use of your vehicle and you may have sustained temporary or permanent injuries.
The last thing you want to have to worry about in the middle of everything else is whether you can be fired from your job just because you’ve had an accident. You may be especially concerned about this if you have to miss work for more than a few days.
Employment at Will
California is an at-will employment state. This means that your employer can end your employment at any time, and they don’t need a reason to do so. They can fire you just because they no longer have work for you or because they think your personality isn’t a good fit for the team.
There are a few reasons for termination that are illegal, such as discrimination based on sexual orientation, religious beliefs, race, ethnicity or gender. Otherwise, your employer can terminate you at any time.
Employee handbooks usually include a disclaimer that you can be terminated at any time and that you can choose to leave at any time. As an employee, you are typically required to sign an acknowledgment that you understand this arrangement.
Injuries That Make You Unable to Do Your Job
Knowing that your employer can technically fire you at any time and without reason is cause for concern when you have sustained injuries that make you unable to do your job for a period of time. If your job needs to be done each day and you aren’t able to do it, your employer may choose to let you go so they can find someone who is physically capable of doing the job.
Is there any way to protect yourself while you are trying to heal from your injuries? Do you have to accept that losing your job may be an unfortunate consequence of your accident?
The Family and Medical Leave Act
You may be able to protect yourself from losing your job for several weeks under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). Many people use this protection when they need time off from work to take care of a loved one who is ill, but this act can also protect you while you are temporarily hurt.
Under the FMLA, you may be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave over the course of a year. This gives you time to deal with your medical problems without worrying about losing your job while retaining your health insurance.
Who is Protected by FMLA?
This law applies to:
- Companies that employ at least 50 people
- Employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months before applying for benefits
If you work for a smaller company that doesn’t have that many employees, it’s a good idea to approach your employer and discuss your value to the company. It can be to your employer’s advantage to hold your job for you rather than going to the time and expense of training someone else.
Getting Legal Advice
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s a good idea to go for a free case evaluation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Get in touch with Kuvara Law Firm by filling out the form on this page. We will answer any questions you may have about your accident and about the possibility of recovering lost wages including possibly protecting your job through the FMLA.
After a car accident, your life can change drastically in the blink of an eye. We want to help you get your life back. Contact us today if you’ve been in a car accident and need legal assistance.