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AlexiaEsq.
AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  19+ Years of Legal Practice in the Employment law arena.
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I drive a 18 wheeler and I was unloading my truck and was injury

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I drive a 18 wheeler and I was unloading my truck and was injury out was out of Iwork for about 2 weeks. When I wentback to work i was pulled over for using a cell phone. I was fired that with out even letting me try and work this out. I am not the only driver that received this type of ticket but the only one fired. They owe 1500.00 for have refuring another driver. My last check was only 17.00 they held out heath ins that I don't even have yet. Another driver receive 2 tickets and nothing was done I feel like this was done becuse i was hurt on the job. What should I do?
Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing Employment law for 19+ years and look forward to assisting you. With regard to your post:

I drive a 18 wheeler and I was unloading my truck and was injury out was out of Iwork for about 2 weeks. OK, and that was your WC case, right?

When I wentback to work i was pulled over for using a cell phone. Ouch!

I was fired that with out even letting me try and work this out. Being fired for that IS entirely legal, unless you have a contract restricting the employer's right to fire for such violations. Otherwise, its right to fire at will remains intact under the law, and is only prohibited if for certain reasons, such as discrimination or in retaliation for having made a WC claim.

I am not the only driver that received this type of ticket but the only one fired. Hmm. That could help show that the firing was in rataliation for your WC claim, since clearly a mere cell phone ticket has been shown by the employer to be Fire worthy. You may want to look to see if your track record of performance is up to par with those other drivers AND whether your record of infractions is as minimal as theirs. I say this becaue the employer could defend a charge of it being WC related retaliation by saying, "No, this ticket he got put him on the '5 tickets' list, and our rule is that we terminate a driver if he gets 5 tickets. The other drivers do not have 5 tickets and so are not up for termination." You just want to make sure they don't pull something like this out, so make sure there can be no other such reason for the termination.

They owe 1500.00 for have refuring another driver.Check the policy of the employer - do referrals go to those no longer working for the company? Some companies don't offer payment to terminated employees. However, if that is n't part of the policy, you can argue that you earned that bonus when that driver lasted XX months (or however long the policy says the new employee must last at the job for bonus to accrue the referring person), and that he hit the XX mnth mark on XX date. On XX date, you WERE an employee, thus, they owed you that money as of that date, irrespective of any termination.)

My last check was only 17.00 they held out heath ins that I don't even have yet. Are you supposed to be paying this amount of premium for your health coverage? And if you are, but you DON'T have the coverage, You can likely sue them for that.

Another driver receive 2 tickets and nothing was done I feel like this was done becuse i was hurt on the job. Could very well be, but remember to check all aspect of your performance/infractions, vis a vis the other ticketed employees. Also look to see if other injured employees got let go at prior times? A pattern of this type of behavior.

What should I do?
You absolutey want to get a WC lawyer - typically they don't charge a retainer. And, you want to file for Unemployment. They will likely contest it, so plan on appealing. Indicate that the employer practice is that a cell phone ticket is not fire worthy, is not consider misconduct of the kind to get fired over, that it is a ruse/excuse, because they really are firing you due to the WC claim.

You can learn more about the ins and outs of the complicated LA WC system by reviewing this article by an LA WC attorney. Note that I do not know him and this is not a referral to him. You must use your own due diligence to determine which LA WC attorney you wish to use - I am just linking this for the well-written article of information you can use and I hope it all helps!

Also, here is an article regarding LA retaliation prohibitions:
http://www.glennmcgovern.com/CM/Custom/Article-Emloyment-Law.asp

And here is your statutue:

"La. R.S. 23:1361

§1361. Unlawful discrimination prohibited

A. No person, firm or corporation shall refuse to employ any applicant for employment because of such applicant having asserted a claim for workers' compensation benefits under the provisions of this Chapter or under the law of any state or of the United States. Nothing in this Section shall require a person to employ an applicant who does not meet the qualifications of the position sought.

B. No person shall discharge an employee from employment because of said employee having asserted a claim for benefits under the provisions of this Chapter or under the law of any state or of the United States. Nothing in this Chapter shall prohibit an employer from discharging an employee who because of injury can no longer perform the duties of his employment.

C. Any person who has been denied employment or discharged from employment in violation of the provisions of this Section shall be entitled to recover from the employer or prospective employer who has violated the provisions of this Section a civil penalty which shall be the equivalent of the amount the employee would have earned but for the discrimination based upon the starting salary of the position sought or the earnings of the employee at the time of the discharge, as the case may be, but not more than one year's earnings, together with reasonable attorney's fees and court costs.

D. The rights and remedies granted by this Section shall not limit or in any way affect any rights and remedies that may be available under the provisions of any other state or federal law.

E. Any party found by a workers' compensation judge or a court of competent jurisdiction to have brought a frivolous claim under this Section shall be held responsible for reasonable damages incurred as a result of this claim, including reasonable attorney's fees and court costs."


http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=83518

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions.

Sincerely,

Alexia Esq.

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