The jury in a recent case has found in favor of a 61-year-old San Diego man, after he was found to have been wrongfully terminated based on workers' compensation guidelines. He had been employed by the city of San Diego when he was injured on the job in 2006, though he later returned to work. The man reportedly did an excellent job but was then fired in 2010, about four years after his initial workers' compensation case.
The man was reportedly fired because of a workers' compensation ruling that restricted his ability to climb ladders. The city told the employee that he could not continue to be employed because the job required him to climb ladders and it could not make an accommodation for him. The man was then fired even though he had reportedly been working with no problems for quite some time after his initial accident.
While the city followed the workers' compensation guidelines, it reportedly failed to take into account federal laws that govern disabled employees that wish to continue working and are satisfying the requirements of the job. The man was able to perform his job and wanted to keep working, yet was fired. In finding for the worker, the jury awarded $520,000 in damages.
In winning his lawsuit, the San Diego man was also awarded attorney's fees and other costs. Those who are injured on the job are typically entitled to workers' compensation benefits. At the same time, an employer must comply with all applicable state and federal laws and understandably may not single out a worker for firing in contravention of laws regarding a worker's employment status.
Source: UTSanDiego.com, "Fired SD worker wins $520K AWARD," Pat Flynn, May 24, 2012