After receiving an injury on the job, it is only natural to seek medical care. Your employer may not give all the care you need. When that happens, you will probably have to go elsewhere for care. However, it gets tough when your employer does not believe you are really injured. A strict attendance policy can make things hard. One day too many in the hospital, and you might get fired without warning in a retaliatory discharge.
The Alabama Supreme Court recently decided a case like this in Foster v. North American Bus Industries, Inc. In Calhoun County, a metal panel flipped onto an employee and hit them in the forehead. The employer’s nurse looked at the worker and said that there were no signs of a serious head injury. However, overnight the employee began vomiting. She drove straight to the hospital instead of reporting for work. She was admitted for treatment and was in the hospital for two days.
The employer’s attendance rules required a call thirty minutes before missing a shift. Two shifts missed without a call was considered a “voluntary quit without notice.” The employee did not call in to work before going to the hospital. The hospital gave her a note excusing her absence. After her excused absence ended, the employee returned to work.
The employee worked for three days until problems came up. The worker went back to the hospital because of stomach pain and vomiting. The hospital admitted the employee for further testing. The worker’s husband called the employer to let them know that the worker was in the hospital.
After four days of hospital care, the employee was discharged from the hospital. The hospital told her not to go back to work for two weeks and gave her a note. The husband called again to let the employer know the employee could not work. He also drove the worker to her work to deliver the doctor’s note. However, the employer said they never received the note.
A few days later, the worker was fired because of two straight days absent from work without calling before each shift. However, evidence showed it could have been because she tried to get workers’ compensation. The Alabama Supreme Court agreed, and found that the employee made a case of retaliatory discharge.
The employer argued that their “voluntary quit without notice” policy allowed no exceptions. The Court disagreed. First, they looked at the worker’s first absences because of her injury and how she was not fired. Next, they looked at evidence that even if the employer did not get the note, they still knew the worker was absent because of her injury.
If you are ever the victim of a work injury, it is important that you receive the care you need without penalty. If you find yourself in that situation, you will likely need legal help sooner than later. If that time comes, it is important to find an attorney with workers’ compensation experience.
If you areinjured on the job, contact INGRAM LAW LLC at (205) 335-2640. Let us help you recover compensation for your injury.