Had accident at work. Once it was recordable, I was written-up. When I opted for surgery, I was wrongfully terminated.

Asked over 1 year ago - Kenosha, WI

I worked as a warehouse supervisor for a fortune 500 company in Kenosha, WI (I live in IL) and had an accident (at work) on January 17, 2013. I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who prescribed an MRI. A short while after I was prescribed the MRI, I was given a final written warning for not reporting two employees to HR for having an affair. Everyone, including management, knew about these two employees for over a year. A couple weeks later, I informed the safety manager that I wanted to have the surgery. Less than a week later, I was terminated. This just doesn't seem right! Can I still get the surgery and is there anything I can do?

Additional information

I was told that as a supervisor, it wouldn't be good for me to have a "recordable" at work. Even had one manager say, "I'd say you were mistaken, it actually happened at home." Anyway, I tried to "walk it off" for a couple weeks, but the injury kept getting worse. I finally had to see a doctor (as long as there are no stitches, prescriptions, etc, it isn't a recordable injury). I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who prescribed an MRI. I got the MRI and I was told that I could get cortisone shots to mask the pain, or surgery to fix it. I was told by the safety manager to try to do nothing, that it would probably heal on its own. He told me that he fell in the parking lot last winter and hurt his knee and shoulder, but he let it heal on its own.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Gordon R. Leech

    Contributor Level 14

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you were fired from your job right after disclosing facts about a serious medical condition, and one that involves a work injury, you may have rights under workers compensation and the laws that prohibit discrimination.

    Even though the employer terminated your employment, you can still pursue a workers compensation claim for medical benefits and lost wage/temporary and permanent disability benefits.

    Also, the employer may have violated Wisconsin and Federal law that prohibits discrimination because of a serious medical condition, known as disability discrimination. This may be a claim if the employer disciplined you (written warnings) or terminated your employment motivated by the fact that you have a serious medical condition. The state and federal laws have different definitions of disability, so you may want to pursue one or both claims, depending on the medical facts of your condition and its limitations on your ability to work and perform major life activities. I recommend that you see an attorney experienced in handling discrimination claims for an evaluation and further direction. Don't delay, though, as you must file a complaint of discrimination with either the EEOC or the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division within 300 days of the discriminatory act, generally.

  2. Paul F X Schwartz

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . I am not sure where you got "recordable" injury from, but there is no such thing under the Wisconsin workers compensation law. An work related injury is just that a work related injury and as such is covered under the Wisconsin workers compensation laws. It does not matter if there were stitches, surgery or if it was only a muscle strain. From what you write, it would appear that the ER and/or their agents were trying to convince you not to pursue a workers compensation claim and tried to intimidate you with the write up on an extraneous (and seemingly pretextual) reason. With regard to your termination, you probably have a cause of action under the Wisconsin workers compensation statutes for an unreasonable refusal to rehire, which occurs when an individual is fired or denied rehire for asserting their rights under the workers compensation statutes.

  3. Randy T. Enochs

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . In addition to the potential discrimination claims mentioned by Attorney Leech, because worker's comp is involved, there is a claim known as an unreasonable refusal to rehire claim you could also potentially pursue. You will want to contact an employment attorney ASAP and also apply for unemployment insurance with the State if you haven't done so already.

Related Topics

Work-related personal injuries

Employees can sue for damages if they’ve suffered work-related injuries. These lawsuits are separate from workers’ compensation and cover more kinds of injury.

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