Q: I suspect that my new employer doesn’t have California workers’ compensation insurance, but I’m very uncomfortable asking my supervisors for more information. Is there any penalty for this? What can I do to protect my coworkers and myself?
It is a violation of California state law for an employer to not provide workers’ compensation coverage for its employees. This criminal offense is punishable by a fine up to $10,000, a year in jail, or both. The state can also fine up to $100,000 for employers that aren’t insured.
It may not be a good idea for a worker to confront their employer about any type of potentially criminal activity, and this is no exception. Fortunately, there’s research you can do without alerting anyone to your suspicion:
- At some point between your date of hire and the end of your first pay period, you should have been given a pamphlet with general information about workers’ compensation laws.
- Employers are required to post a visible Notice to Employees, which should include details about your employer’s policies. Not posting the notice doesn’t necessarily mean your employer doesn’t have coverage, but it is a separate, misdemeanor offense that should be reported.
If your employer is illegally uninsured, contact the closest Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) office to report the offense. If you are injured while working for an illegally uninsured employer, you may be able to file a civil action against them as well as a workers’ compensation claim.
Injured and concerned that your employer may not have workers’ compensation coverage? Talk with a Tehama workers’ compensation attorney at the Ledgerwood Law Group today by calling 888-761-7383. Our informative guidebook to the system, The California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual, is free at your request.