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Wisconsin employer ordered to pay for work injury situation

Being hurt at work can be difficult for a new employee and may be confusing when the employer exercises retaliation for the reporting of an injury. A Wisconsin railway company was recently ordered to pay just over $352,000 in restitution to a former employee for a work injury situation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration demanded that the railway employer provide rightful compensation to the employee who had been terminated after suffering a work injury.

The company was cited by OSHA when they were found to have violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act. The company was accused of firing an employee in direct connection with his report of suffering a work injury while on the job. Court records reveal that the man will receive a settlement to cover both personal damages and lost compensation; $217,000 for wages and the remaining $135,000 in punitive and compensatory damages. Some employers will attempt to deny or avoid accident claims to minimize or limit the amount of workers' compensation they may have to provide.

Reports indicate that the employee was injured and terminated within the company's 60 day new employment probation, allowing the company the opportunity to accept or reject his continued employment beyond the time frame. The worker reported his injury during the day of the occurrence, before his shift ended. On the final day of his probationary employment, the worker was denied the ability to continue his employment with the railway; his letter of rejection accused the man of breaking a company mandated rule by not reporting his work injury before the end of his shift.

In addition to compensation, OSHA has demanded that the Wisconsin man be returned to his previous position of employment with a clear work history record. Some companies may break the Federal Railroad Safety Act for reasons to benefit the employer through lowering reported work accidents and injuries and to keep insurance premiums lower. An employee who has suffered a work injury that may require workers' compensation benefits, only to then experience retaliation, may choose to pursue legal action to protect their professional career and ensure they receive their rightful benefits.

Source:, "WI Company to Pay $350,000 in Damages to Former Employee -- Occupational Health & Safety", , April 12, 2014

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