Generally, if an employee is injured on the job in California, he or she may recover under “Workers’ Compensation”.
Workers’ Compensation is an insurance system. All the employers must have worker’s compensation insurance of some kind.
It doesn’t matter whether or not the injury is an accident. If it happened on the job, the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance must pay for the it. The flip side of this is that employees in California cannot sue their employers for negligence. The employees can only recover under the workers’ compensation insurance program. This program has definite limitations. For example, employees can recover only set maximum amounts, no matter what proportion their income was. If you have been injured on the job, you should speak to a personal injury attorney who can help assess your situation and see if you have a case.
Workers’ compensation does not apply to discrimination lawsuits. If an employee is discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, national origin, or another protected class, the employee can still sue under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
One question that is undecided is presented in the following circumstance. An employee is discriminated against on the basis of a disability. However, that disability was created in an on-the-job accident. To recover for the disability itself, the employee is limited to workers’ compensation. However, the employee has also been discriminated against on the basis of a disability. Can the employee sue under FEHA for disability discrimination? Or can the employee only sue under the Workers’ Compensation law which states that there may be no retaliation against employees who file for workers’ compensation. The most recent cases say that the employee may sue under FEHA (and the Federal Title VII anti-discrimination law). However, they are on appeal to the California Supreme Court, so the issue is still up in the air.