NY Attorney General Announces Settlement With C&S For Firing Injured Workers

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 6-Aug-2015

On July 22, 2015, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a $46,000 settlement with C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (C&S), the nation's largest wholesale grocery supply company, with warehouses all over the nation.

The settlement stems from an investigation by the Attorney General's Office into the company's policy for firing employees who were injured in a "preventable accident" during their initial 90-day probationary period.

Schneiderman said that employees who are injured on the job deserve medical care and workers' compensation benefits – not pink slips. He went on to say that employers cannot establish policies that dissuade workers from reporting their injuries and receiving the care and support they're entitled to.

Under C&S's written policy, if a probationary employee got hurt, they would be terminated. The catch, New York's workers' compensation law, N.Y. WKC. Law § 120, prohibits employers from firing or retaliating against workers who seek workers' comp benefits for their injuries.

The C&S policy was in clear violation of New York law, especially because it dissuaded workers from reporting their injuries and filing claims.

The Attorney General's Office was alerted of the grocery wholesaler's policy after a worker was terminated by C&S after being injured on the job.

In July 2013, the Appellate Division upheld the Workers' Compensation Board's decision that C&S's policy broke the law because it dissuaded probationary employees from reporting their injuries and filing workers' compensation claims.

The investigation revealed that as recent as 2013, C&S continued the practice of issuing written reprimands to employees who were injured, warning them that future incidents (injuries) would result in disciplinary actions, which could include termination.

Under the settlement, C&S was required to change its policy and to train all supervisors and employees on their right to workers' comp benefits, without fear of retaliation.

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