When a large box fell on an employee and required his hospitalization, a California man working as a manager in a major courier services company suffered a spinal cord injury. After learning the full extent and long-term effects of his on-the-job accident, he had to take some time off from work. The absence due to his injuries, however, resulted in a case of workplace retaliation, which led to the $5.3 million lawsuit he filed against his former employer, as reported by NBC4 Los Angeles.
With three days of hospitalization, his doctor cleared him to return to work over the next month as long as he did not lift more than 10 pounds or drive a truck. Engaging in these activities may have resulted in further injuries to his spine. The manager, however, returned to work about five months later because his company required him to perform at “100 percent release to full duty” according to his complaint.
Allegedly, the employer required him to return to work within 90 days or lose the managerial position which he worked his way up to during his 25-year tenure. The company, however, would not provide him with a desk job to accommodate the physical limitations the spinal cord injury caused.
Retaliation begins after filing an internal complaint
The issues outlined in his suit began after he filed an internal complaint accusing the company’s management of retaliation, harassment and discrimination. Allegedly, his workload had increased since he returned to work. Eight months later, the company fired him. His lawsuit accuses his employer of not conducting an interview related to his grievances after filing his internal complaint while other employees were granted one.
Company’s defense includes claim of three prior write-ups
In its defense against allegations of failing to engage and accommodate the employee, and to ward off accusations of employer retaliation, the courier services company claimed that the 51-year-old manager was terminated due to three disciplinary actions. The company claimed taking action on three separate occasions for his not paying employees with the correct number of hours worked and making processing errors with timecards. The jury, however, did not find favor with the company and awarded the former employee $5.3 million.