California’s Third Appellate District has held that a violation of Labor Code section 132a cannot support a common law claim of wrongful termination in violation of public policy. In general terms, Labor Code section 132a states an employer may not discriminate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim or for having a work related injury. These kind of claims are adjudicated by the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. In Dutra v. Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta, (C067169, Sept. 26, 2012), the Court found that Labor Code section 132a does not represent the sort of public policy which provides the basis for a common law wrongful termination in violation of public policy claim in civil court. In so ruling, the Court distinguished an earlier California Supreme Court case, City of Moorpark v. Superior Court, Cal. 4th 1143 (1998). In Moorpark, the Supreme Court acknowledged that Labor Code section 132a is not an exclusive remedy and plaintiffs may pursue parallel common law claims. The Dutra court agreed but held Moorpark did not specify which common law claims were appropriate following a Labor Code section 132a violation. Analyzing the underlying policy of Labor Code section 132a, the Court found that it is not a proper basis for a public policy wrongful termination claim. Accordingly, a plaintiff may not claim she was wrongfully terminated in violation of public policy in civil court merely because her termination allegedly violated Labor Code section 132a. Employers should consult with their legal counsel to determine how the decision may impact their operations, if at all. The case may also be appealed by a party.