Employers in California are required to provide workers' compensation insurance benefits for their employees. The benefits provide for medical expenses and lost wages in the event that an employee is injured while on the job. Unfortunately, a man in another state claims that he was wrongfully terminated after he filed a workers' compensation claim. Litigation resulting from the man's claim recently resulted in a $1.26 million award in his favor.
The man was an employer of Merchants Food. He was reportedly injured while working a shift for a friend in July 2014 and missed work for several months. When he returned to work later that year, he claims that he was fired the same day. He argues that he was fired in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim and argues that the company has a history of firing people who file claims and using intimidating tactics to prevent others from filing.
While representatives of the company admit that a manager made a mistake in his treatment of the employee in regard to company policy involving medical leave, they say that the man's termination was not the result of retaliation. According to court papers, the representatives argue that three people were hired in the man's absence, meaning there would have been too many workers if he remained employed. The company has already requested a new trial, claiming the court made several errors, including awarding damages that are excessive and unconstitutional.
A representative for the plaintiff claims that he hopes that the case will deter the defendant from treating other employees similarly. Unfortunately, employees are treated unlawfully in California as well. In many cases, litigation may be the only option to ensure that such treatment is appropriately addressed.
Source: clantonadvertiser.com, "Merchants Food assessed $1.26 million in wrongful termination," Joyanna Love, July 21, 2017