Baltimore County has settled a case with a Department of Public Works employee who says he was forced to retire in 2011 when he applied for workers' compensation after fracturing his hip in an accident on the job. The county has agreed to let him come back to work.
Although the county did not admit liability in the settlement, according to the man's attorney, he is nonetheless essentially receiving everything he asked for in the federal suit. In addition to giving the man his job back, the county has agreed to pay him for the two years since they forced him to leave, and will compensate him for his legal fees. The county will also pay his pension benefits for his thirty years of work, and reinstate his wife's survivor benefits. It has agreed to drop its appeal of his workers' compensation case. The man's lawyer says that his client can and wants to continue working.
Although the 71-year-old employee wants to come back to work, Baltimore County Attorney Michael Field said that it is not safe for him to return to his old job as a laborer. Field issued a statement after the settlement was accepted saying that they believe the plaintiff is not able to safely perform his previous duties, which included operating heavy equipment. Therefore, they are placing him in a position as a shop clerk where he is less likely to hurt himself or anyone else.
Field noted that the settlement protects the county from any further litigation and costs related to the matter. Baltimore County has already paid out nearly $2 million to 14 other county employees who filed lawsuits related to disabilities claims.
Any employee who is injured on the job has a right to file a workers' compensation suit without fear of retaliation or job loss. Anyone who is terminated or forced to retire for that reason should consult an attorney who specializes in employment law. They can work to ensure that you are able to return to your job, or one you are able to perform, and that you do not lose any benefits.
Towson Patch, "Baltimore County Settles Disability Case With Employee" Bryan P. Sears, Aug. 08, 2013