After denial of benefits and unreasonable demands to return to work, some injured workers think that their employers are out to get them. But in the case of this New Jersey trucker, that’s exactly what was happening.
The employee sustained an on-the-job back injury while working for the Springfield-based trucking company New Prime Inc. in October 2008. A month later he provided documentation to his supervisors that he was unable to return to work because of medication he had been prescribed. In July 2009, when the driver was cleared by his doctor to return to work, he chose to seek employment elsewhere and not return to New Prime.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the trucking company retaliated against the driver by:
- Submitting false records – OSHA found that New Prime had sent “damaging and misleading information” about his employment to a pre-employment and drug testing service.
- Implying incompetence – When the driver returned to his home state for medical treatment, the driver’s supervisor listed his truck as “abandoned” even though the driver maintained contact with his supervisor while away.
- Influencing potential employers – The driver discovered the false information after he was rejected for at least one position in the commercial trucking industry.
The driver filed a complaint with OSHA, and after an investigation the department has ordered New Prime to pay the driver for lost wages and damages totaling $100,994. Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York, said that the case should encourage victimized employees to file grievances with the federal government.
“Blacklisting an employee and sabotaging a worker’s career is unacceptable. It can have a dangerous ripple effect if employees are compelled to drive when unwell or under medication because they are afraid they will lose their livelihood,” Kulick said.
If you are having trouble getting your employer to treat you with respect after an injury, workers’ compensation attorney Manfred F. Ricciardelli, Jr. can help you get the benefits you deserve. Call our offices today at 877-360-0183 to set up your consultation. We also welcome you to click the link above to download our FREE report, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide.