I was fired due to medical work restrictions (light duty). I injured my arm at work and my employer sent me to the doctor and said to have it filed under BWC this was in Feb 2010. I was put on light duty restrictions and went through Physical Therapy for several weeks and continued working for them through this time period. After a couple of follow up visits, the BWC doctor recommended me to a surgeon and he determined that surgery would be needed, this took place on Sept. 23 2010. During my time off I kept in contact with my employer giving them updates, and their reply was always positive, my last reply from my employer was Dec 23 2010 when I informed them about my expected return to work date the surgeon recommended, which would be the second week of Jan 2011 and they replied "Merry Christmas to you and your son and we will see you in just a few weeks"
My latest follow up with the surgeon was Jan 7 2011 and I informed my employer, the surgeon said I could go back to work on Jan 12 2011 with light duty restrictions on my left arm only. So I went to work 7:30am and removed snow from the loading dock and side walks at the warehouse, helped pack some orders, repaired a couple of heat sealers and packaged some products to be ready for sale. My supervisor came in near 10:00am and asked me "what are you doing here" I replied this is my release back to work date, she replied "I need to have a talk with you". This is when she informed me that upper management had sent me an e-mail last night to let me know they decided to terminate my employment. I told her I was unaware of the e-mail and she said late last night upper management informed her of the termination
e-mail sent to me and that due to my disability of my left arm for light duty restrictions that I was a liability down the road if I stayed employed there, she then suggested that I go talk with them to see if they would change their decision. After talking with upper management they Just simply said that due to work restriction that there was no light duty work available and that they had hired extra help for the busy season.
I pleaded my case and told them I didn't understand why this light duty restriction was cause for termination when they had let me work earlier in the year before having the surgery, and that the restriction now only applied to lifting extra heavy items with left arm only and that ninety percent of the work in the warehouse was considered light duty work as it is. Upper management just said sorry this is our decision and they were fully staffed. I asked, if the surgeon lifts the restriction, will I be considered for rehire, they said yes because I have been a very good worker for them, but only if they need to fill a position. I even asked them to reconsider if the surgeon lifts the restriction this day, they just replied that the surgeon couldn't lift the restriction this soon.
I went back and talked to my supervisor and she really didn't want to see me go, and she said to give her a couple of days to talk to upper management and she would e-mail me back with the result of her trying to persuade them to reconsider because, they have had several BWC cases over the years and at this moment they put another co-worker on light duty due to a lump that has formed on his hand.
I was told by my supervisor that the termination by upper management was because I am a future risk due to my arm that was injured at work, but was told a conflicting reason for termination by upper management that there was no light duty work available and they were fully staffed.
This is a copy of the e-mail I received on Jan 11 2011, but didn't get to read until Jan 12th after being sent home from work.
Unfortunately, we don't have any light duty work available that meets
these restrictions, so we can't have you back at work this Thursday. In
addition, we are no longer going to be able to keep you on the Salary
Continuation Program beyond this Friday, January 14th. However, you
will be able to get your salary paid by the BWC once we stop paying it.
We'll let the BWC know so they can take over your salary payment as soon
In addition to your final paycheck
you'll receive from us next week,
we'll mail you information about continuing health insurance coverage
, if you decide you want to do that.
We wish you well, and hope things improve for you.
end of e-mail
My question is does this qualify for discrimination
Should I take BWC wages
at a lower rate that my employer suggest, which I don't know how long will last?
Should I file for unemployment
right away or wait till the BWC payments stop?
I would rather keep working at the job I just lost, because there are no other jobs in this area that pay near my current wages.
Hopefully my supervisor can convince upper management to keep me employed.
Thanks for any comment you may have.