No Charge Unless We Win: 855-913-1134
Ver en Español

Navigating Forever Chemicals and Your Workplace

California forever chemicals workplace rights

In today’s ever-evolving legal landscape, California employment law has continually adapted to address new challenges and protect the rights of workers across the state. One such challenge that has garnered significant attention in recent years is the issue of “forever chemicals.” These chemicals, known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), may pose serious health risks to employees.[1] In this blog post, we will explore the implications of forever chemicals in the workplace and how they intersect with California employment law.

Understanding Forever Chemicals

Forever chemicals, or PFAS, are a group of synthetic chemicals widely used in various industries due to their water- and grease-resistant properties. They can be found in a range of products, including non-stick cookware, water-resistant clothing, and firefighting foams. PFAS have earned their ominous nickname “forever chemicals” because they do not break down naturally and can persist in the environment for an extended period of time, contaminating food and water. Unfortunately, these chemicals have also been found in the bloodstream of millions of Americans, causing health concerns.[2]

Health Risks and Workplace Exposure

Exposure to PFAS has been linked to various health issues, including cancer, developmental delays, weakened immune systems, and other serious conditions. Many employees who work in industries where PFAS are used may face a higher risk of exposure. For instance, firefighters exposed to PFAS-laden firefighting foam, or workers in manufacturing facilities using these chemicals, are at particular risk of higher exposure to PFAS.[3]

California forever chemicals workplace rightsCalifornia Employment Law and Forever Chemicals

California has been at the forefront of addressing the issue of forever chemicals in the workplace. The state’s employment laws place a significant emphasis on ensuring the safety and well-being of employees. Several key aspects of California employment law intersect with the challenges posed by PFAS exposure:

  • Workplace Safety: Employers in California have a legal obligation to maintain a safe and healthy working environment for their employees. This includes identifying potential hazards, such as PFAS exposure, and taking measures to minimize the risks.[4] Failure to do so can result in serious legal consequences for the employer.
  • Workers’ Compensation: If an employee suffers health issues as a result of PFAS exposure in the workplace, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under California law.[5] These benefits can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs.
  • Disability Discrimination: Employees suffering from PFAS-related health conditions may be considered disabled under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees with disabilities, and they must provide reasonable accommodations to enable such employees to perform their job duties.[6]
  • Whistleblower Protection: California law also provides protection to employees who report unsafe working conditions or illegal practices, including inadequate measures to prevent PFAS exposure. Retaliation against whistleblowers is strictly prohibited.[7]

Seeking Legal Recourse

If you believe you have been exposed to PFAS in your workplace, it is essential to consult with a qualified employment attorney. They can help you understand your rights, determine if your employer is in violation of California employment laws, and guide you through the legal process. Pursuing a legal remedy may involve seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from PFAS exposure.

The issue of forever chemicals, such as PFAS, in the workplace is a growing concern in California. With the state’s robust employment laws in place, employees have rights and protections against exposure to these harmful substances. If you believe your health has been affected by PFAS exposure in your workplace, contact Matern Law Group today for a free consultation. Together, we can work to protect your rights, safety, and well-being, ensuring that California’s strong employment laws are enforced to the fullest extent. Your health and safety are paramount, and the law is on your side.


Employment Law Blog

Is It Illegal, or Just Unfair?

Legal cases can be lengthy, complicated, and confusing, but you don’t have to take on the system all by yourself. If you believe someone has violated your individual rights, or the rights of a large group of people in your community, we can help you find the right course of action.

"*" indicates required fields

Get In Touch For a FREE Consultation Today

Text Consent*
* Do you give us permission to send you text messages about your inquiry?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.