Missouri Supreme Court Makes it Easier to Prove that Employers Retaliate

The Missouri workers’ compensation law prohibits employers from discharging or in any way discriminating against injured workers for exercising their rights under the Missouri workers’ compensation law. If an employer retaliates against an injured worker, a civil action for damages can be filed against the employer.

Up until about a year ago, to prove that an employer discriminated against an injured worker, the worker must have shown that the work injury was the exclusive reason for the employer’s discrimination. However, in April 2014, the Missouri Supreme Court changed this requirement to make it easier to prove these claims. Now, the injured worked only needs to prove that the work injury was a contributing factor to the employer’s discrimination in order to pursue a law suit in civil court.

In its decision, the Supreme Court illustrated the types of evidence that could prove that a work injury contributed to the discrimination. This evidence includes, but is not limited to, the supervisor of the injured worked repeatedly yelling at the worker and complaining to others about his injury; the injured worker being belittled for his injuries; the failure to provide accommodation for the injured worker; the injured worker being terminated shortly after filing a workers’ compensation claim.

By making it easier to bring these claims, the Missouri Supreme Court has finally declared:

 It is illegal to discriminate and retaliate against workers hurt on the job.

*Ann Dalton is a partner at Hammond & Shinners, P.C. where she practices exclusively in the areas of Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability, representing claimants in Missouri and Illinois. For questions, Ann can be reached at 314-727-1015 or by email at adalton@hammondshinners.com. The firm’s website can be viewed at hammondshinners.com.

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