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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Worker Alleging Workers Compensation Discrimination Awarded $361,000

A worker in Minnesota was awarded $361,000 against his employer for being discriminated against for filing a workers' compensation claim. The worker alleged that the employer terminated him after he suffered a work related accident and filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

The worker was injured on the job when a car lost control and struck the truck that the worker was driving. The employer alleged that the employee did not disclose previous injuries on his job application and terminated him. A jury subsequently awarded the injured employee $111,000 in dames for lost wages and emotional distress and another $250,000 for punitive damages.

In New Jersey a discrimination complaint may be filed with the Division of Workers' Compensation as an administrative remedy, which is separate from any common law action which might be instituted against the employer. The Division of Workers' Compensation shall conduct an investigation and forward the complaint and the results of the investigation to the Commissioner of the Department of Labor within 30 days of filing. The Commissioner will then act in accordance with the statutory provisions to determine whether or not there has been an unlawful discharge of, or discrimination against, the employee as a result of an application for workers' compensation benefits or as a result of the employee's testimony in a workers' compensation claim. An employee who has been discriminated against will be restored to his employment and will be compensated by his employer for any loss of wages arising out of the discrimination, as long as he is still qualified to perform his job duties.