GRIFFIN INDUSTRIES V. MULLEN
TORTS – Wrongful discharge in retaliation for seeking workers compensation benefits
AFFIRMING – COMBS
On appeal and cross-appeal, CA affirms jury verdict of $120K for employee in wrongful discharge case.
Appellee was a truck driver who fell and sprained his wrist. He had had three on-the-job accidents that the employer had determined to be "preventable," i.e., that the employee was negligent in some way. This made the employee subject to discipline. Initially he was told to view workplace safety videos during his convalescence, but was discharged shortly thereafter. He sued alleging retaliatory discharge for seeking WC benefits. CA held that "sufficient evidence existed for the jury to believe that Mullen might have been terminated in retaliation for seeking WC benefits and for it also to conclude that Griffin’s safety violation defense might have been a mere pretext."