Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced on July 22 of last year a settlement of $46,000 with C&S Wholesale Grocers for terminating employees who were injured on the job. The settlement followed an investigation by the Attorney General into C&S Wholesale Grocers, popularly known as “C&S”, the largest wholesale grocery company in the country.
The investigation followed an appeal in which the Attorney General’s Office successfully represented the Worker’s Compensation Board.
The dispute concerned C&S’s written company policy of firing employees who were injured in a “preventable accident” during their initial 90-day employment probationary period. New York State Worker’s Compensation Law (WCL) §120 prohibits employers from termination of or retaliation against employees who claim or attempt to claim Worker’s Compensation benefits. The Appellate Division in July 2013 upheld the Worker’s Compensation Board’s decision that C&S’s policy was unlawful because it prevented probationary employees from seeking care and compensation for work-related injuries.
Schneiderman’s investigation found that during 2010 and 2011, nearly every accident involving injury was deemed “preventable” by the managerial teams at C&S, which directly led to the termination of 18 employees during that time period. In resolution of the investigation, C&S will pay a total of $46,000 to the Attorney General, $36,000 of which will be distributed to former employees who were fired in accordance with the company’s unlawful “preventable injury” policy.
The investigation also found that C&S continued to issue written reprimands to employees for sustaining injury while on the job, threatening that “future incidents” would result in “further disciplinary actions up to and including termination.”
“An employee injured on the job deserves medical care and worker’s compensation benefits – not a pink slip,” Schneiderman said. “Employers must not set policies that dissuade employees from reporting injuries and getting the care and support they’re entitled to under the law.”
The settlement requires C&S to formally change its injury policy and includes preventative measures for future employee discrimination, including implementation of an internal compliance monitor who will report compliance with WCL §120 to the Attorney General’s office for two years.
The New York State Workers Compensation Law states it is unlawful for an employer to discharge or discriminate against an employee for filing a Worker’s Compensation claim. If you believe that your rights as an employee have been violated, contact an experienced attorney who will fight for your right to receive compensation and care for injuries on the job. Contact an experienced New York Employment Attorney today. Call Steven Mitchell Sack at (917) 371-8000 or email him at sms@StevenSack.com. You can also visit his website at www.theemployeeslawyer.com.