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132a Claim Rejected on Recon

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board recently issued an opinion on a 132a claim in the case of Miller v. County of Alameda (39 CWCR 208).

Miller was a licensed clinical social worker and would drive to see her patients, until she was hurt in a car accident while on one of these trips.  The injury was accepted by the defendant, and Miller eventually returned to work.  The defendant expressed doubts about her ability to continue driving as often as she had before, and told her she needed to find another job.  Miller found an applicant’s attorney instead and filed a claim for 132a.

Labor Code § 132a, prohibiting employer discrimination against employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim (or being a witness in a workers’ compensation case) is covered by your faithful author from time to time.

The reason why this case is important is because of applicant’s theory and its rejection by the WCAB.

Applicant argued that she heard a vague rumor was aware that another employee with a non-industrial injury had stricter restrictions and yet was allowed to keep her job.  The Workers’ Compensation Judge found this to be a violation of Labor Code § 132a, and defendant petitioned for reconsideration.

The WCAB granted reconsideration, reasoning that the vague allusion to some worker, without bringing the worker to trial as a witness, was not enough for applicant to carry the burden of proving a 132a claim.

In other words, the rules of evidence matter at least a little bit, even in the realm of California’s Workers’ Compensation.

Categories: 132a
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  1. October 27, 2011 at 8:07 am

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