Missouri Supreme Court makes it easier to prove employer retaliation

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Workplace Injury
AN ON THE JOB INJURY that results in a workers’ compensation claim, doesn’t have to lead to abuse by your employer. The Missouri Supreme Court just made it easier to prove employer retaliation.

By ANN G. DALTON

(EDITOR’S NOTE: With employers demanding more of fewer workers, the possibilities of being injured on the job growing, there is a little known, now enhanced, Missouri law that protects workers from retaliation if they file workers’ compensation claims.)

The Missouri workers’ compensation law prohibits employers from discharging, or in any way discriminating against, injured workers for exercising their rights under the Missouri workers’ compensation law. If an employer retaliates against an injured worker, a civil action for damages can be filed against the employer.

Up until about a year ago, to prove that an employer discriminated against an injured worker, the worker must have shown that the work injury was the exclusive reason for the employer’s discrimination.

MAJOR CHANGE

However the Missouri Supreme Court recently changed this requirement to make it easier to prove these claims.

Now, the injured worked only needs to prove that the work injury was a contributing factor to the employer’s discrimination in order to pursue a lawsuit in civil court.

DISCRIMINATION EXAMPLES

In its decision, the Supreme Court illustrated the types of evidence that could prove that a work injury contributed to the discrimination.

This evidence includes, but is not limited to:

  • Yelling – The supervisor of the injured worked repeatedly yelling at the worker and complaining to others about his injury.
  • Belittling – The injured worker being belittled for his injuries.
  • Accommodation – The failure to provide accommodation for the injured worker.
  • Retaliation – The injured worker being terminated shortly after filing a workers’ compensation claim.

By making it easier to bring these claims, the Missouri Supreme Court has finally declared it is illegal to discriminate and retaliate against workers hurt on the job.

(Ann Dalton is a partner at Hammond & Shinners, P.C. where she practices exclusively in the areas of Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability, representing claimants in Missouri and Illinois. For questions, Ann can be reached at 314-727-1015 or by email at adalton@hammondshinners.com. The firm’s website can be viewed at hammondshinners.com.)  

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