California is an at-will employment state, which means that employers can pretty much fire you for any reason or no reason at all. There are some exceptions to this, as employers can’t terminate you for a protected reason, even in an at-will state.
One factor that can’t lead to termination is your filing a valid workers’ compensation claim. In these cases, you can’t be fired because of the impacts of the injury or because you filed a report outlining some safety defect within the company.
It can be difficult to tie the firing to the fact that you filed a workers’ compensation claim. One possible way to approach this is to show that you were doing your job satisfactorily by citing favorable employee evaluations.
There are some reasons for termination after you file your claim that don’t have anything to do with the injury. The company closing or downsizing its employees might mean that your position is no longer necessary. In these cases, the employer could let you go even if you do have a valid workers’ compensation claim in the works.
Ultimately, you need to follow your medical care plan. Try to return to work when it is safe for you to do so. This decision has to be between you and your doctor. Staying off work too long when it isn’t necessary and coming back sooner than you should can cause issues with your job. If you are returning to work with limitations, make sure those are clearly conveyed to your boss so that he or she knows what to expect.