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Missouri Work Comp Lawyer Says That You Cannot Be Legally Fired For Filing Your Claim

Nov. 30, 2009

Discrimination because of exercising compensation rights prohibited –civil action for damages.

287.780. No employer or agent shall discharge or in any way discriminate against any employee for exercising any of his rights under this chapter. Any employee who has been discharged or discriminated against shall have a civil action for damages against his employer.

(RSMo 1939 § 3725, A.L. 1973 H.B. 79)

Prior revision: 1929 § 3335

(1979) Plaintiff who alleges discharge due to filing of a worker’s compensation claim has burden of proving the cause of action. Henderson v. St. Louis Housing Authority (Mo.), 605 S.W.2d 800.

(1993) The rights and remedies provided by this section are independent of, in addition to, any rights provided by a collective bargaining agreement. Claim for retaliatory discharge under statute is not preempted by federal labor law. Cook v. Hussmann Corp., 852 S.W.2d 342 (Mo. en banc).

(1998) Law does not abolish the “at-will” doctrine but provides a limited exception. Crabtree v. Bugby, 967 S.W.2d 66 (Mo.banc).

The Language in the law is quite clear that an employee cannot be fired for filing a legitimate work injury claim. An employer can fire an employee for just cause or for business reasons.If the real reason for firing an employee is for filing a work injury claim and other reasons are given to mask the true motive,then the firing would be illegal.There can be difficulties with proof ,but this a question which can be decided by a jury in a civil case.Make no mistake about it , however, that firing an injured employee for asserting a work injury claim is definitely contrary to the law and damages can be awarded against an employer for such conduct. SUBMITTED BY JEFF SWANEY (314) 310-8373