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Fired 2 days after filing workers compensation District of Columbia

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  • Fired 2 days after filing workers compensation District of Columbia

    I was fired from my current job today, only 2 days after filing workers compensation. I started this job about 3 months ago, and was treated poorly ever since. When I first started working there, I was told I was "too social and outgoing", and that its rather to be seen then not heard. Some people in our office worked with their lights off, in the dark... talk about strange!

    Anyways, about a month after working there I was bit by a spider in the office, I share an office with two girls who have an abnormal amount of plants in our office. I reported it to my manager and went back to my work, the next day finger was so swollen that I could barely move it, however I could not miss work because I had a deadline. When I asked later in the day to go to the ER, they told me I could not afford to miss work and should go to the local clinic. I went there for an hour and received some antibiotics (the wrongs ones). My finger got progressively worst and the next day I almost fainted at work. I had a 104 fever by night time and my girlfriend had to rush me to the ER. After getting to the ER, they had to slice it open and put me on an antibiotic IV for a few days because the infection was streaking up my arm and had entered my lymph system. I returned to work a few days later, still not fully recovered but was afraid of not getting compensated and I need the money to pay bills as I am scraping to live.

    The managing partners tried to encourage me to go home, because the case I was working on suddenly became frozen and there was no work for me to do however they weren't telling me that. They told me to "go home and not to worry about compensation, that they would handle it. I refused to go home until they gave me a definitive answer on whether or not I was getting PTO for my time off. They said no so I continued to stay at work. They also did not pay me for the days I missed because I was in the hospital, nor did they pay for my medical bills. After threatening to file workers compensation, they decided to pay me and wait a month accrue, thinking that I couldn't report an injury after 30 days. After a month, they told me they had to audit my pay check because they had made a mistake and paid me for the days I was in the hospital. I had not said anything because I just assumed they did the right thing by paying me for my missed days.

    After figuring out this news this past Monday, I filled out the workers comp papers and asked the partnering manager for our insurance information, which she refused to give to me. I went about researching it myself, and handed in the papers. The rest of the day, and Tuesday they were very hostile towards me and gave me no work, but then again I have been without work for weeks because of the case they hired me for was frozen. Today I went into work and they fired me, and there best excuse was that "my writing was not up to par with there standards". I believe that my termination was a combination of retaliation, and hiring me under the assumption that they had more business than they really did. For a month, they tried to make my life hell there in order to get me to quit, and when I didn't they just ended up firing me.

    After, making me move to Washington D.C., taking on $10,000 in debt, on top of my $150,000 which I owe for college still, and signing a 1 year lease which I can't get out of, they fire me.... How nice.

    Do I have a case for a retaliation claim? What should I do?

  • #2
    You make yourself familiar with the comp laws of Wash DC here,q,537428.asp, file your claim, and follow the procedures.

    WC is not a very fast moving system, and subject to denials, disputes, and litigation.

    Wage loss compensation is not paid for the first 3 days.... unless your time loss exceeds 14 days.
    Unless the employER controverts/disputes your time loss within 14 days of knowledge of the injury, the TTD is due on the 14th day. More info on employEE rights and obligations is here...
    Including info on the process if you dispute a decision made by your ER or the carrier providing benefits.

    After, making me move to Washington D.C., taking on $10,000 in debt, on top of my $150,000 which I owe for college still, and signing a 1 year lease which I can't get out of, they fire me.... How nice.
    I[m sorry for your situation...but no one ''made'' you move, nor are the things you mention here compensable in a claim for benefits under your ER's plan for industrial injury.

    There are rules that preclude your ER from terminating you for filing a claim... and you can file that with the comp court. There may also be an ombudsman available to assist you with your claim. That info too is available at the above link.

    Whether or not your injury/illness is compensable under the DC comp statutes will be a medical determination, and/or ligigated in the comp court.
    To be compensable injury/illness must meet the AOE/COE standard... that the injury Arose Out of your Employment, and in the Course Of your Employment (performing your job duties) It's unfortunate you suffered the reaction you did to the spider bite... again, whether that is a compensable injury remains to be determined. File your claim.

    BTW... ER's are required, by law, to advise you of your rights under the WC laws, when you request the first report of injury form. Appearantly your ER failed in this mandate... and could be penalized for making statements, or actions with the intent of denying you benefits under their plan for industrial injury/illness. There are times that can be viewed as 'fraud'.


    • #3
      I agree with CAIW's comments. Obviously all cases are different, but I had a very similar situation (spider bite that later became infected) and it was found compensable. Doesn't mean that yours automatically will be, just sharing my story.


      • #4
        DC is incredibly claimant friendly when it comes to WC but retaliation claims are extremely rare, even when far more obvious. You claim there was no work as your project was frozen and there were issues from the get go.

        Your employer does not have to pay you for the time you missed. If the time you missed was the result of a compensible work injury, then the WC carrier would pay you.

        If you are filing the claim more than 30 days after the fact, expect to have to defend it in a hearing. Timely filing is one of those things that is very hard to overcome. Technically only the OWC can grant the claim if filed late. It sometimes does happen without a hearing but this is rare and technically not the way it is supposed to happen. If you knew you should have filed it sooner and just didn't, that hurts you even more.

        I would caution you that much of what you share has no bearing on your claim. It doesn't matter how strange you find your coworkers, and again, your employer is not required nor should they be paying the lost time or medicals. Your personal finances are also not relevant at all. Claimants who go in complaining of things outside the perview of WC generally do not fair well.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


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