I had some RSI injuries as a programmer in the company I worked. I filed workers compensation and I was on total disability for a few months. I have not closed the case for a few years. I am wondering if in the state of California, the fact that the worker's compensation is still open would affect my future employment? I did not get a lawyer for anything.

  1. Does my future employer in the state of CA have access to my workers comp records?
  2. Should I close my open workers comp case? What would be the advantages/disadvantages of doing so?

I didn't know if this should be a separate question, but please keep in mind that my future job may do a secret clearance on me. Would this affect future employment (by not being able to get the secret clearance?)

  • As long as you were not found to be committing fraud in the case it should not affect your secret clearance. But the question as a whole is a legal question and off topic. I would say I would avoid speaking about the claim with a prospective employer. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Nov 30 '12 at 14:23
  • @chad where did you see this? – l--''''''---------'''''''''''' Nov 30 '12 at 14:54
  • "it should not affect your secret clearance. " – l--''''''---------'''''''''''' Nov 30 '12 at 15:04
  • I understand how the secret clearance works. I have had one in the past and have been involved in automating some of the process for a Consulting company. That you were hurt on the job is not a dis-qualifier. If you faked being hurt(or said it happened at work but it actually happened at home) and were caught it definitely would be. If a company is accusing you of faking(or faking where it happened) it that would probably prevent you from a secret clearance if the case is still open. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Nov 30 '12 at 15:11
  • Furthermore as long as you can fill in all the blanks in your employement during those years and provide a contact for those years then the person working on confirming your background won't find anything that would make you ineligible for a security clearance. – Donald Dec 20 '12 at 12:49

From the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:

Initial workers' compensation claims are not public records, but when a claim is appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB), it becomes a public record. Employers may access WCAB records only if a work-related injury might interfere with your ability to perform a certain job.

Under the California Labor Code workers’ compensation claims records may not contain individually identifiable information—which would include any medical information that is identifiably linked to you—when accessed by someone who is not a party to the claim. (Cal. Labor Code § 138.7(a)) An exception to the law allows someone who is not party to a claim, but who identifies himself and the reason for the request, to access an identifiable record.

In California, employers can access these records only after a job offer has been made. They cannot rescind the offer based on information in the record. (Cal. Labor Code §132(a)) However, if a workers’ compensation record includes prior claims that you failed to disclose during the job application process, that can be grounds for denying employment or for termination if you have already been hired.

To access worker compensation records an employer submits a “Request for Public Records” to the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, giving a legitimate reason for the request. If the purpose of the request is screening prior to employment, but after an offer of employment has been extended, the Director of the Department of Workers' Compensation must give you this notice, in 12-point type: “IT MAY BE A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL AND STATE LAW TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST A JOB APPLICANT BECAUSE THE APPLICANT HAS FILED A CLAIM FOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS.” (Cal. Labor Code § 138.7(b)(5)) As a job applicant, you’d get this notice, but if you’re not hired, it would be up to you to prove the reason was that you had previously filed a workers' compensation claim.

Based on this information, opening or closing a claim prior to application would likely not affect the outcome.

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  • thank you so much for this perfect answer. i've added a question on secret clearance, can you please check :) – l--''''''---------'''''''''''' Nov 29 '12 at 18:23
  • I have no direct knowledge whether workers' compensation claims impact the ability to gain a security clearance, but I would presume the same rules apply. If the claim is valid and non-fraudulent, I would see no reason that the existence of a outstanding claim would keep you from getting one. If you weren't able to get the clearance, it would probably be due to other unrelated factors. Now, if you are asking if not being able to get the clearance impacts your ability to get it in the future, that seems like a separate question. – Neil T. Nov 29 '12 at 21:28

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