This is one of the oddest workers comp suits we have heard about recently, so it was worth sharing.
In West Frankfort, Illinois, Larry Holland worked as a facility supervisor at a Schwan’s Home Service location.
One day, Holland was unloading items into a freezer, when he slipped on ice and hurt his back.
The doctor told him to take some time off, but that he could return his job only if Schwan’s made certain allowances for him. While he was recovering, his doctor said, he could not stand for long periods of time or lift heavy objects.
Holland went back to work, but nothing changed. His supervisor still insisted that he pick up heavy things, despite the doctor’s orders.
His back got worse, so his doctor told him to take a month off and get some physical therapy.
But in the month while he was recovering at home, Schwan’s sent him a letter saying his position was going to be cancelled. The company gave him a month to find a different position within the Schwan’s organization, or he would lose his job entirely. They did not inform Holland officially that they had created a new “material handler job” just for him. He did not accept the new job, because he did not know about it, so Schwan’s terminated him.
This was considered to be “retaliatory discharge.” The Illinois court said that Schwan’s had retaliated against Holland for his injury, and the court awarded him $4.3 million in May of 2013.