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Texas worker claims he was fired after filing workers' comp claim

When a worker is injured on the job in Texas, he or she is generally able to apply for workers' compensation benefits. Workers' compensation benefits do not depend on who was at fault in the workplace accident. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against workers for filing workers' compensation claims. Unfortunately, some employers still do this.

Recently, a Sherman, Texas, Home Depot worker sued his employer for allegedly retaliating against him after he filed a workers' compensation claim. In a lawsuit filed Aug. 24 in Eastern District of Texas court, the worker alleges that he was terminated from his position at Home Depot after he was injured and applied for workers' compensation benefits.

The worker said he was injured on Oct. 12, 2011 while he was cleaning up in the building materials department. According to the lawsuit, the worker was loading trash into the compactor when his left upper arm popped and caused severe pain. The worker said he reported the accident and went to a company doctor the next day.

At the doctor's office, the worker was given a drug test and told the doctor he had taken two hydrocodone pills the night before because the pain was so severe. The doctor gave the worker a list of restrictions and sent him on his way. Then, in December of the same year, the worker was informed that his drug test came back positive and he was terminated as a result.

The worker has since filed suit, claiming that he was discriminated against because he filed a claim with the Texas Industrial Accident Board. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as court costs, interest and attorney's fees. A jury trial was also requested.

At issue in the case will be whether Home Depot fired the worker justly, or based on retaliation for reporting his injury.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Home Depot worker sues after filing worker's compensation claim," Michelle Keahey, Sept. 6, 2012

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