Retaliating against an employee for asserting their workers’ compensation rights is illegal in Missouri. Under Missouri law, an employer may not fire, demote, harass or otherwise “retaliate” against an individual for asserting their workers’ compensation rights. Until recently it was difficult for a terminated employee to recover damages against an offending employer in violation of this wrongful termination law.
The Missouri Supreme Court last year issued a ruling that gives employees a better chance of recovering damages after being fired at their job in retaliation for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. In the past, the Court had ruled that the terminated employee had to prove that filing the Workers’ Compensation claim was the “exclusive” reason for their termination. In other words, the employer could essentially make up any reason for termination and avoid liability for the retaliation.
Contributing Factor Standard in Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Claims
Now the employee only must show that the filing of the Workers’ Compensation claim was a “contributing factor” in the employer’s decision for the termination as a result of the Missouri Supreme Court ruling announced in the case, Templemire v. W&M Welding, Inc. The Court decided that the “contributing factor” standard applies to claims of discrimination and retaliation under the Missouri Human Rights Act and claims for wrongful termination in violation of public policy should also apply to workers’ compensation retaliation claims. This “contributing factor” standard now aligns workers’ compensation with other Missouri employment discrimination laws. Now it is more difficult for the offending employer to claim that the termination was the result of another factor if one of the reasons for termination is the filing of the Workers’ compensation claim. The wrongfully terminated employee can now recover, back pay, front pay, lost opportunity, lost advancement, pre judgment interest, attorneys’ fees, and punitive damages from the former employer.
If you have been fired in retaliation for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, you should contact a qualified and experienced Employment lawyer. Contact the lawyers at the Benjamin Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation. We will help you get the compensation you deserve. Do not delay in contacting an attorney because you have very limited time to take action and any delay could cause you to lose your rights.