132(a) / Serious and Willful
These practice areas are not generally covered by your workers’ compensation insurance coverage. In fact, per Insurance Code Section 11661 an employer cannot purchase insurance to cover financial liability for a Labor Code Section 4553 increase in payment. Serious and Willful claims are codified in Labor Code section 4553 and allow an applicant to receive an additional amount in settlement, up to one-half of the total value, together with costs and expenses of up to $250, where the employee is injured by reason of the serious and willful misconduct of the employer, or his managing representative. Labor Code section 132(a) claims enforce a non-discrimination policy that prevents an employer from terminating, threatening to terminate, or discriminating an employer “in any manner” because they have filed a workers’ compensation claim. This code section allows for an increased award of up to half (not to exceed $10,000), reinstatement, and reimbursement for lost wages and benefits. Taking a preemptive strategy to preserve the facts of the case with witness testimony, documentary evidence, and other potential exhibits is essential to the effective defense of a Serious and Willful or LC §132(a) claim. It is not enough to have an attorney follow along with the defense attorney in the case-in-chief, billing you for work that has already been done. Allow us to set forth an aggressive discovery plan to best defend you and your business.