What Happens When You Get Fired After Filing for Workers’ Compensation at Lowe’s?

If you’re dealing with workers’ compensation issues and need legal assistance, consider reaching out to a Lowe’s workers comp attorney.

workers compensation

In this article, we’ll discuss a real-life situation involving Lonnie, a long-time employee of Lowe’s, who faced harassment and was eventually fired after filing for workers’ compensation. We’ll explain the legal steps he took, why his case was moved around between courts, and what this means for you if you find yourself in a similar situation.

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Lonnie’s Story

Lonnie worked at Lowe’s for over 10 years. After suffering injuries on the job in 2017 and 2018, he filed for workers’ compensation and received benefits. What happened next was unexpected and unfair. Lonnie claimed that Lowe’s began to harass, coerce, and discriminate against him. Eventually, in December 2019, he was fired. Lonnie believed that his firing was directly related to his workers’ compensation claims.

The Legal Battle Begins

Lonnie decided to take legal action against Lowe’s, citing workers’ compensation retaliation under Kentucky law (KRS 342.197). He believed that Lowe’s had no valid reason to fire him and that the real reason was his workers’ compensation claims.

Initially, Lonnie’s case was filed in state court, but Lowe’s moved it to federal court. Moving a case from state court to federal court is called removal. Lowe’s argued that Lonnie had fraudulently included a non-diverse defendant (someone from the same state) to avoid federal court. This is known as a fraudulent joinder.

The Court’s Decision

The federal court had to decide whether it had the right (jurisdiction) to hear Lonnie’s case. Lonnie argued that his case should stay in state court because it involved a workers’ compensation claim, which cannot be removed to federal court under 28 U.S.C. § 1445(c).

The court agreed with Lonnie. It found that his claim was indeed based on the Kentucky workers’ compensation law, which created the cause of action for retaliation. This meant that his case arose under the state’s workers’ compensation laws and should be heard in state court. As a result, the federal court sent Lonnie’s case back to the state court (Pike Circuit Court).

What This Means for You

If you work at Lowe’s or any other company and face retaliation after filing for workers’ compensation, you have rights. Laws like KRS 342.197 in Kentucky protect you from being harassed, discriminated against, or fired for seeking the benefits you deserve.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, it’s crucial to understand that your case may need to be heard in state court. Federal courts generally do not handle workers’ compensation retaliation claims because they are seen as arising under state law.

Need Help?

If you’re dealing with workers’ compensation issues and need legal assistance, consider reaching out to a Lowe’s workers comp attorney. They can guide you through the process and help you protect your rights.

Key Takeaways for Employees

1. Know Your Rights

Understanding your rights under state workers’ compensation laws is crucial. These laws are designed to protect employees who suffer workplace injuries and ensure they can receive benefits without fear of retaliation.

2. Document Everything

If you face any form of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation after filing for workers’ compensation, document every incident meticulously. Keep records of communications, emails, and any other evidence that can support your case.

Read More: Maximizing Your Compensation: Working With an Auto Accident Attorney

Navigating the legal landscape can be complex, especially when dealing with both state and federal jurisdictions. Consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. They can help you understand your rights, build a strong case, and represent you effectively in court.

4. Understand the Jurisdiction

Workers’ compensation retaliation claims are typically handled by state courts. If your employer tries to move your case to federal court, be aware that you may have grounds to argue that it should remain in state court, as demonstrated in Lonnie’s case.

5. Stay Informed

Laws and regulations can vary by state, and they may change over time. Staying informed about your state’s specific workers’ compensation laws and any updates can help you better protect your rights and respond appropriately if you face retaliation.

6. Act Promptly

Timeliness is essential in legal matters. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated or retaliated against, seek legal advice as soon as possible. There may be specific deadlines for filing claims or taking legal action.

By understanding these key aspects, you can better protect yourself and ensure that you receive the benefits and fair treatment you deserve after a workplace injury.