Employee Claims Manager Told Her That She Was Fired For Making A Workers’ Compensation Claim
For more than two decades, our Marion County, Florida workers’ compensation retaliation attorneys have fought for the rights of employees who have been retaliated against for making a workers’ compensation claim. In far too many cases, our Ocala, Florida workers’ compensation retaliation lawyers have learned, the retaliation workers’ compensation claimants endure culminates in their termination. As the Florida Second District Court of Appeals observed in Hornfisher v. Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, 136 So.3d 703 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014), “[i]t is not difficult for an employer wishing to discharge an employee [for making a workers’ compensation claim] to find another plausible reason or reasons to justify its decision.”
Work Comp Claimants’ Rights
Under Florida law, employers are prohibited from discharging, threatening to discharge, intimidating, or coercing employees because they made or attempted to make a workers’ compensation claim. In protecting workers’ compensation claimants from retaliation, as the Florida First District Court of Appeal in Bruner v. GC-GW, Inc., 880 So.2d 1244 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004) explained, Florida law “is not only intended to punish employers who discharge an employee for having filed a workers’ compensation claim, but is also intended to ensure that employees do not have to fear reprisal from their employers when they file a workers’ compensation claim.”
Employee Claims Work Comp Retaliation
The alleged facts in the recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Guevara v. Monogram Meat Snacks, LLC, Case No. 19-1954 (D. Minn. Sept. 15, 2021) are illustrative of why Florida law protects workers’ compensation claimants from retaliation. In that case, a woman named Guevara brought a workers’ compensation retaliation lawsuit against her former employer, Monogram Meat Snacks, LLC (Monogram). Guevara claims that Monogram unlawfully retaliated against by terminating her employment because she made a workers’ compensation claim.
Monogram operates a factory in Chandler, Minnesota where Guevara was employed for approximately fourteen years. Guevara worked in various roles on Monogram’s production line. On January 25, 2018,while Guevara was putting labels on boxes, a co-worker knocked a box off a pallet that, according to Guevara, fell on the back of her neck. Guevara reported the incident to Monogram’s Human Resources Manager, a man named Mejias. On March 12, 2018, Guevara provided Monogram with a doctor’s note stating that she needed to go to the hospital for three weeks to receive treatment to help manage her pain.
The day after Guevara presented her doctor’s note, Monogram terminated her employment. Mejias investigated Guevara’s workers’ compensation claim and determined that Guevara falsified her workers’ compensation report by lying about the box hitting her. Mejias testified that the video evidence demonstrated that, although a box fell, it did not strike Guevara. Mejias sent the video to Monogram’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier, which denied Guevara’s workers’ compensation claim because the video footage allegedly showed that the box did not strike Guevara. Mejias testified that he fired Guevara solely because she submitted a false injury report. Guevara testified that Mejias told her that Monogram terminated her employment because she filed a workers’ compensation claim.
Evidence Of Retaliatory Firing
Monogram filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Guevara’s claim that she was unlawfully fired for making a workers’ compensation claim. In denying Monogram’s motion for dismissal, the trial court found that, “accepting Guevara’s version of the facts, Monogram had no legitimate basis for terminating Guevara’s employment for ‘dishonesty,’ because the video evidence demonstrates that the box hit her.” Although Monogram maintained that the video evidence showed that Guevara was not hit by the box, the trial court explained that it had reviewed the video evidence, and “despite Monogram’s interpretation, this evidence is not dispositive.” Instead, the trial court found that “whether or not the box hit Guevara is unclear.” Consequently, the trial court determined, “a reasonable jury could find that the box hit Guevara and Monogram’s stated reason for termination is pretextual.” In other words, the trial court reasoned, if a jury found that the box did hit Guevara, then the jury could also find that Monogram’s reason for terminating Guevara’s employment was false and a pretext for terminating her employment because she made a workers’ compensation claim.
Free Employment Law Consultation
One of the most important decisions that workers’ compensation retaliation victims must make is deciding which employment lawyers to consult with regarding their legal rights. At our employment law firm, an experienced employment attorney will speak with you personally and you will receive the individualized attention your case deserves. We offer free confidential case evaluations and you will never have to pay to speak with our employment lawyers regarding your rights as a workers’ compensation claimant. We are available for consultation at your convenience and are able to schedule telephone consultations for evenings and weekends.
Ocala, FL Work Comp Retaliation Lawyers
Based in Ocala, Florida, and representing workers throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida workers’ compensation retaliation attorneys have represented Florida employees who have been retaliated against for seeking workers’ compensation benefits for more than twenty years. If you have been fired for making a workers’ compensation claim or have questions about your rights as a workers’ compensation claimant, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida workers’ compensation retaliation lawyers. Our employee rights law firm takes workers’ compensation retaliation cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.