Despite all of the best safety precautions, workplace injuries can still occur. When they do, it is illegal for an employer to fire a worker in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. Just such a situation is the basis for a claim filed by a Texas man who worked for Schneider National Carriers Inc. who said that, after he was hurt on the job, everything took a turn for the worse and led to him losing his job.
The plaintiff claims that he was riding as a passenger in a company van when an accident occurred in which his neck was injured. As a result, his doctor advised him to not return to work, and he filed a workers' compensation claim. Based on a manager's recommendation, the man filed for FMLA leave and was approved. Before the end of his approved FMLA leave, his doctor released him to go back to work. When he alerted the company of his intended return, he was told not to come back until some additional paperwork was filed.
Prior to his return, he received a letter informing him that one of the company's divisions would be closing, and that affected workers could apply to be transferred, so the plaintiff called his manager to start the process. After numerous phone calls, the worker was told by the recruiting department that he should contact his manager because he was not able to be transferred because of something on his employment record. Eventually, he claims that he discovered that he had been terminated, and the reason why he could not transfer was that he had a safety violation on his permanent record related to the van incident.
According to the plaintiff, he did not commit a safety violation, as he was not driving. In addition, others, who were also passengers in the van during the accident, were not disciplined. He claimed that his firing was an act of retaliation and discrimination because he filed a workers' compensation claim and was temporarily disabled. Texas workers who find themselves in similar situations may choose to pursue legal actions against their employers in an effort to receive lost wages, monetary damages, and compensation for other related financial losses. The employees may also request that they be reinstated to their former positions if they so desire.
Source: setexasrecord.com, "Schneider's firing was retaliatory, man claims", Annie Cosby, Dec. 18, 2014