Court Rules on Injured Worker’s Wrongful Termination

June 10, 2011( - Ohio’s Supreme Court ruled that a machine shop employee fired within an hour of reporting an injury, but before he could file a worker’s compensation claim, can sue his employer for wrongful termination. 

According to a recent press release, DeWayne Sutton, who had been a Tomco Machining Inc. employee for two and a half years, was fired without being given a reason after he received a back injury in April 2008. The 4–3 decision of Sutton vs. Tomco upholds an appeals court finding.  

The Supreme Court was tasked with determining whether a state law prohibiting the firing of workers in retaliation for filing worker’s compensation claims also applies to firings that occur after an injury but before such a claim has been filed. The release stated that the court majority found language in the law protecting injured workers leaves a gap between the time of the injury and the time at which they file a claim. It also found the state’s General Assembly did not intend to leave a gap that would allow employers to retaliate against injured employees.  

The Supreme Court remanded the case to a trial court to resolve remaining issues. 


-Sara Kelly