Many people including federal employees are unaware that they cannot sue the federal government for retaliation of a federal workers compensation matter. In state law workers compensation, various states allow its citizens to sue their employer for retaliating against them for filing a workers compensation claim.
For example, recently in Kentucky Isaacs v. Novelis Corporation, 10-1979, a forklift driver at an aluminum company was involved in an accident and suffered an injury while unloading bales of aluminum. After the accident, the employee made a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. The company promptly fired the employee and she sued alleging retaliation. The company countered that she wasn’t fired because of the worker’s compensation claim but instead because of her history of multiple forklift accidents.
This case ended up having to go to trial with a jury and the jury sided with the plaintiff and awarded her $300,000 for emotional distress.
The law that controls federal employee workers compensation, Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), does not permit federal employees this legal remedy. In fact, The OWCP will not consider any claim for punitive damages. In other words, the employing agency can never be held legally liable with any punishment for their retaliation against a federal employee for filing a federal workers compensation claim. This is sad but true. This matter could only be cured by congressional action… Call your congressperson!
If you have question about this information or if you would like to schedule a free consultation with out office to discus your OWCP claim, please feel free to contact us anytime. Harris Federal Law Firm represents federal employees nationwide.