The facts of a wrongful termination cases often begin as something else. A case involving a former police officer begins with the officer suffering an injury while on duty. He dutifully filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. He eventually returned to work, about a year after his injury.
But he was unable to perform his duties without accommodation. He was terminated and began vocational rehabilitation, which was required by the workers’ compensation program, and that apparently enabled him to begin work as a dispatcher. The city then apparently created a booking position, offered it to him and he accepted.
He alleges that the city then refused to accommodate his work restrictions, and instead, fired him. This was done to enable them to end their payments of his workers’ compensation claim.
For employees injured on the job, the prospect of returning to work in a new or different role may seem like one way to make the best of a difficult situation. Often it turns into a nightmare, where employers change their mind or intentionally misrepresent aspects of the job.
Most workers who are injured genuinely wish to return to work, but depending on their injuries, they may need various accommodations to be able to successfully perform their job duties.
One would think an employer would prefer to have an employee whom they already know and presumably value and would be willing to work to accommodate their restrictions. Too often, that hope is proven wrong.
For an employee dealing with this type of a situation, keeping careful records of all communication with your employer is essential. You want records of every promise made, preferably in writing. The better the documentation, the more likely a wrongful termination case will be successful.
Madisonrecrod.com, “Police officer sues Cahokia alleging wrongful termination,” March 4, 2015