Wa. State wrongfully terminated due to filing L&I claim?

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Wa. State wrongfully terminated due to filing L&I claim?

Post  ambuja on Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:55 pm

was terminated from my job a 1.5 weeks ago, a month after returning from work after having recovered from an on the job injury.

I believe my firing was discriminatory.

During my two-weeks I was off due to my injury, my office hired another person to do my job. Upon returning to my job, my management gave me a very poor 90-day review in which they reviewed things that were not even part of my job description (things they'd 'added' to it while I was out on L&I leave). I responded by saying that a 90-day review should only include things which the employee had actually been doing for 90-days, and they just smiled. During that review, they said they were going to lower my wages by $3/hr.

I was given 1 month to incorporate the new job descriptions as well as improve upon my previous ones. During this time, several other major projects were given to me with 1 week deadlines and overtime was cut, making it nearly impossible to complete everything in a timely manner. So, on a daily basis I met with my supervisor to advise where I was at in the projects and to demonstrate that I was activity working to achieve the goals.

She stated, daily, that all was satisfactory.

While I was settling back into work, a man from L&I came to fit me with an ergonomically correct chair as part of his job and part of my claim. My manager, supervisor and HR were all aware he was coming.

Yet, my supervisor let me know last week that 'the owner and manger were really pissed off' about that and that I'd better watch my back and be careful.

Also, once a week, i had to come in/leave early for a scheduled doctor appt regarding my L&I claim. But, my supervisor told me that I needed to be careful about that.

Yesterday, I was called into the manager's office. My supervisor wasn't there (she was next door, sitting in our shared office, at the desk adjacent to mine). He told me my supervisor said that I hadn't completed one of the five goals outlined in my review and that as of that moment, I was no longer employed at the company.

After talking about this with him and the HR person, I went out to talk directly with my supervisor who said she wasn't in the office during my firing 'because she didn't want to have to deal with it.'

When I told her she'd have to live with her conscience, knowing full well that she'd lied about me, she just smiled.

My feeling is this ALL has to do with my L&I claim. They're pissed off about this and have treated me with utter hatred since I've been back and this is their retaliation.

What do you think?

Last edited by JoeC (McGruff) on Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:34 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Poster forgot to inclued state.)


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Re: Wa. State wrongfully terminated due to filing L&I claim?

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:38 pm

From what you wrote you may have a case under several theory's of law. All tough Wa state L&I is the exclusive remedy for on the Job injury under Industrial Insurance Act (IIA) (RCW 51.04.010 and RCW 51.32.010) it does shield the employer from a failure to accommodate claim under Wa Law Against Discrimination (LAD), RCW 49.60.180 and damages in tort for negligent infliction of emotional distress,or a wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

The leading case on the matter is GOODMAN v. BOEING CO. Wn.2d 401, 899 P.2d 1265 (1995)
Here are some exerts:

[T]he employee bears the burden of giving the employer notice of the disability. Hume v. American Disposal Co., 124 Wn.2d 656, 672, 880 P.2d 988 (1994), cert. denied, 130 L. Ed. 2d 788 (1995). This notice then triggers the employer's burden to take "positive steps" to accommodate the employee's limitations. Holland, 90 Wn. 2d at 388-89....

[T]he IIA generally bars actions against employers for unintentional torts. RCW 51.24. At the same time, "Washington has long recognized that the [IIA] does not contemplate that an employee's common law remedy can be abolished without providing a substitute remedy". McCarthy v. Department of Social & Health Servs., 110 Wn.2d 812, 817, 759 P.2d 351 (1988). The IIA does not compensate discrimination or verbal harassment; these claims fall outside the IIA bar. Wheeler, 65 Wn. App. at 566; see Reese, 107 Wn.2d at 569. As with her physical injuries, Plaintiff was free to demonstrate the verbal harassment caused emotional injury separate from any IIA-compensable injury. The trial court properly instructed the jury regarding this string of causation, thereby preventing any overlap with the IIA field of recovery.

[O]ur decision prevents an unnecessary conflict between the IIA and the LAD posed by giving preference to the IIA to deny a plaintiff the full remedies of the LAD, or to even bring an LAD claim at all. See Reese, 107 Wn.2d at 572-73. Assuring full recovery under the LAD likewise reflects the Legislature's high priority of eliminating workplace discrimination by providing an incentive for employers to accommodate disabled employees in safe positions. See Xieng v. Peoples Nat'l Bank, 120 Wn.2d 512, 521, 844 P.2d 389 (1993) (holding high purpose of LAD demands liberal interpretation); Reese, 107 Wn.2d at 573; see a/so Jane Doe v. Boeing Co., 121 Wn.2d 8, 20, 846 P.2d 531 (1993) (requiring an employer to accommodate with position appropriate to disability).

Contact an attorney there are two Wa. state attorneys recommended on this board in the Attorney Client Relationship section of this forum their websites links are on there as well. Are you in King, Pierce, or Snohomish county?
JoeC (McGruff)
JoeC (McGruff)

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