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Beware jumping the gun when firing injured worker

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Before terminating an employee who has racked up absences that may or may not be related to a workplace in­­jury, make sure she has had a chance to show that the injury contributed to her attendance problems. Otherwise, you may be liable under the North Caro­­­lina Retaliatory Employment Dis­­crimi­­nation Act (REDA).

Recent case: Frances bumped her knee on some equipment at work and took a number of days off for treatment. One or more of those absences put her over her absence limits. She was fired within moments of telling her supervisor she had to have knee surgery.

She sued under REDA, alleging retaliation for reporting an injury.

The court said the timing and the fact that she wasn’t allowed to provide medical documentation was enough to send the case to trial. (Sur­­­­­rett v. Consolidated Metco, et al., No. 1:11-CV-106, WD NC, 2012)

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