Let go after hand injury?
(San Antonio, TX)
My husband was injured at work. He works with box cutters. While at work he sliced open a box with his right hand, then closed the left flap with his left hand with pressure. When he did so, he accidentally pushed down on the box cutter sticking out from his right hand, slicing open his left palm with the blade.
That day (Friday) he was sent to a clinic to get a tetanus shot and treat the wound. He left with 5 stitches. That afternoon he was told not to return to work until 9 am Monday morning. He was released from medical treatment with no restrictions.
Monday morning he met with an HR advisor, who also serves as a safety director, to go over the incident. After discussing the event, he was told they still had not received the release from the clinic, so he would have to go back tomorrow to work.
Around 1:30 Monday afternoon, he was contacted by the staffing agency that the company acquires their employees from, and was told based on the events discussed, he was being released from duty. The safety director implied my husband PURPOSELY sliced his palm open and was considered a high risk.
What should we do? Can someone be let go after an injury like this? Thanks.
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ANSWER for "Let go after hand injury?":
Liza (San Antonio, TX):
Unfortunately, your husband's options are limited. An implication by a staffing company associate that your husband may have purposely injured himself is not sufficient grounds for a defamation claim or other civil claim.
From the facts you present, the company for whom your husband worked when he was injured has no civil liability. Your husband may have some recourse with the staffing agency, but that will depend upon the contract your husband signed when he was initially employed by the staffing agency.
If the contract calls for a specified amount of guaranteed hours each week, or for some other guarantee of employment, then your husband should demand the staffing agency find him some new work, or otherwise fairly compensate him according to the terms of the contract.
Unfortunately, most staffing agency contracts are unilaterally in favor of the staffing agency, and certainly not the employee.
Your husband has nothing to lose by thoroughly reviewing his contract of employment. If you or your husband don't understand its terms, or have a question about the language within the contract, seek the advice and counsel of an attorney.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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