When a worker is injured on the job in Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation insurance provides for their medical expenses, as well as additional benefits that they may need. Employers or their insurance companies may deny benefits or appeal approvals that are granted by the Workers’ Compensation Board, and often do because they fear that their policy rates will increase.
Though it is fairly common for this type of challenge to arise, it is illegal for an employer to take retaliative actions against an employee for having filed a workers’ compensation claim. Yet that is exactly what a Pittsburgh man has claimed that his previous employer has done. Richard L. Nelson has filed suit against Enerfab Corporation, as well as the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 154 and Mark Angle Jr., claiming that he was physically attacked, had been discharged and was banished from the union as a result of having filed his workers’ compensation claim.
According to Mr. Nelson’s complaint, he worked as a welder for Enerfab in 2009, and joined the union at the same time. Five years later he claims to have suffered a knee injury while on the job, and that he was asked not to file a workers’ compensation claim. He did seek medical attention and required surgery to repair his injury, and subsequently filed a claim. Though he returned to work a few months later, he says that he was informed that he had been placed on a no-hire list and was being discharged. Following this he filed a grievance with his union.
In November of the same year, Mr. Nelson claims that he attended a meeting about the grievance he had filed, and was subsequently attacked by Mr. Angle. He was banished from his union and his discharge was confirmed. His complaint indicates that all of these actions were in retaliation to having filed the workers’ compensation claim for his on-the-job knee injury.
The suit is seeking damages for the injuries that he sustained in the attack, as well as compensation for the damages that he has suffered. Mr. Nelson is also seeking protection against any attacks that may come in the future. His case has been filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.