I left my job over a year ago with an injury that I will not recover from....leg swelling from standing too many hours for 16 yrs. My feet turned bluish-black. It turns out my employer was not paying for w/c insurance. They also broke MANY labor laws. They are counting on the fact I have no money to hire an attorney.
If you have a good case (facts, evidence, etc.) you will find many employment law attorneys who will take your case on a contingent fee basis. You have not described the facts giving rise to the labor law violations. Many labor law violations have a statute of limitations/deadline of 3 years. As such, you may still be able to assert your claims, but more needs to be known. As to not having workers' compensation insurance, although it is a misdemeanor for employers to not carry it, criminal charges are rarely brought for that violation. But, if you are within the statute of limitations, you can file a personal injury-like claim against your former employer for injuries you sustained on the job. Call an employment law attorney to discuss. Many of us offer a free phone consultation. Find contact info on Avvo.com. My advice now: Don't wait any longer to retain an attorney if you believe you have a case.
Unfortunately, this Q&A board is not a place to solicit an attorney to call you. However, if you have not waited too long to make your claim, and if you can prove your disabling condition was due to your work, you can likely find attorneys willing to work with you on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay any money unless and until you recover from your employer.
There are time limits for the bringing of injury claims so it is critical that you act quickly. It is therefore important that you locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Good luck to you.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.
The decision to prosecute isn't yours. The decision to sue, however, is yours, provided that you get moving. You might be able to maintain a civil action for personal injuries against your employer because it's illegally uninsured. Your employer's failure to secure workers' comp, if willful, gives rises to a rebuttable presumption of negligence and strips your employer of some of the usual defenses to negligence.
You say that you stood on your feet "for too many hours for 16 hours." Here's something that might be up your alley: though you can't "enforce misdemeanor charges" against your employer, you might (heavy emphasis on "might") be able to seek civil penalties on a per-employee, per-pay-period basis as a private attorney general if your employer violated the suitable seating law.
You don't need money to hire an employment attorney. Most employment attorneys will represent a plaintiff on a contingency (no recovery, no fee) basis. Similarly, most employment attorneys offer free consultations, so contact an employment attorney for a free consultation. Don't let a lack of money deter you from seeking compensation.
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