When someone is injured on-the-job, there may be a lot of confusion about what is going to happen next. While the injured worker will receive treatment for his or her injuries, the workplace may have some specific requirements in place that must be followed when an injury occurs. Additionally, if the employee will be filing a workers’ compensation claim, he or she will need to follow the procedures set forth in the law in order to receive benefits.
A recent Third Circuit Court of Appeals case addressed the issue of reporting requirements for injured workers. An employee worked at a bag sealing plant when he suffered a back injury. The worker went to receive treatment for his injuries, and was told not to return to work until cleared by his doctor. The man also received some medication to help with the healing process.
Despite being told not to work, the man returned after being gone only a few days. He reported his injury to his supervisor, but apparently did not tell him that he had injured it while working, according to reports. Shortly after returning to work, the man suffered an adverse reaction to the medication that he was taking.
This required the man to miss more time, and when he returned, the man said that he had initially injured his back while working. The employers suspended him for failing to report an injury immediately after it happened, and he was subsequently terminated for what the company termed excessive safety violations.
The man claimed that he had been fired for filing for workers’ compensation, and sued his employers. The case ended up being decided against the worker, because the court ruled that because the man did not immediately report the injury to his supervisor as required by company policy, he could be terminated.
The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws have a longer time period in place for reporting these workplace injuries, but the court ruled that companies can have more immediate reporting requirements in place. The court declined to reverse the termination.