Under the California Workers’ Compensation Act (“the Act”), employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance for employee injuries or illnesses which “arise out of and in the course of” employment. The Act, first passed in 1911 and amended over the years by the Legislature, provides a comprehensive system for administering claims,
Articles Discussing California Workers' Compensation Claims.
California Labor Code section 132a, the anti-retaliation provision of the state workers’ compensation statute, has commonly been used to support a tort claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Plaintiffs often argue at the demurrer stage that the California Supreme Court’s decision in City of Moorpark, 18 Cal. 4th 1143 (1998), provides the basis for such relief. City of Moorpark, however, never actually addressed the specific issue of whether Labor Code section 132a could properly form the basis for such a tort claim. A recent decision by a California Court of Appeal, Dutra v. Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta, No. C067169 (Sept. 26, 2012), focused on that inquiry and determined that a plaintiff cannot avail herself of section 132a as the basis of a tort action for wrongful termination. The Court of Appeal’s decision permits an employer to attack the complaint at its initial stages and close off an avenue commonly used by plaintiffs to maintain civil actions for wrongful termination claims related to workers’ compensation actions.