One North Carolina worker filed suit against his employer, M & M Properties Management Inc., after he was swiftly terminated just five days after giving notice of his intention to file for workers' compensation. On January 18, 2010, the worker began training as a property manager at the Value Place Hotel in Shelby, North Carolina, and shortly after sustained an injury during his training. It was only three days after he began work that he was injured while cleaning a room, but he waiting until February 2, 2010 to notify his employer of the injury and of his intention to claim workers' compensation benefits—although he did not immediately bring attention to his injury, all employees have 30 days to notify their employers of a
The very next day he received a written warning that he was failing to meet the company's standards of conduct—including mention of taking excessive breaks and tardiness on several different occasions. A few days later, the employee was terminated for a lack of demonstrative initiative and for failing to "embrace the company's concepts." Five days later, he discovered that extent of his injuries had resulted in a hernia, so he promptly filed for workers' compensation benefits as well as a Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act complaint with the state Department of Labor. In filing this complaint, the worker alleged that he was unlawfully fired after seeking workers' comp benefits from his employer.
The complaint was taken to court, but it was later ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that his employer had acted strictly out of retaliation. In order to make a case in this instance, an employee must have suffered adverse employment action after they intended to "file a claim or complaint, initiate any inquiry, investigation, inspection, proceeding or other action." In the case of this North Carolina worker, he was unable to prove a causal connection between the two incidents. If you have suffered employer retaliation in lieu of a workplace injury or because of an intention to claim workers' compensation benefits, however, you should not hesitate to take the same course of action.
Workers' compensation should not be denied to any employee that has sustained a workplace injury, and if an employer decides to retaliate against an employee for pursuing rightful compensation, this is strictly against the law. At Whitley Law Firm, a knowledgeable attorney can advise you of your rights as an employee and provide you with a viable course of legal action. Although this particular employee was unable to prove that his employer had acted with ill-intention, if you have a valid complaint, you should not hesitate to follow suit.