Hebert v. Irving Lumber
Liberty Mutual Insurance
June 30, 2015
Multiple Injuries Cause for Dismissal Discrimination
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
An employer can terminate an injured employee for his repeated violation of safety rules and his general “cavalier attitude” toward work-place safety without engaging in discrimination under §353 of the Act.
Hebert claimed three separate work injuries: he developed a rash from machine oil, he got sawdust in his eye, and he sprained his ankle walking on uneven ground. He received “safety counseling” and then failed to wear safety goggles. Finally, he failed to follow the “lockout/tagout” procedure while performing machine maintenance. Irving terminated his employment, and Hebert claimed discrimination.
H.O. Elwin found that the Irving manager adequately explained at hearing the non-discriminatory reasons for Hebert’s termination and denied his petition, and even though the work injuries played a 20% role in the termination decision, it was not “rooted substantially or significantly” on his assertion of his WC rights. Hebert appealed, and the panel held that the decision was supported by competent evidence, it involved no misconception of law, and it rationally applied the law to the facts.