Man claims termination due to injury

Kelly Holleran Jan. 4, 2010, 3:21am

A man has filed suit against his former employer, saying he was wrongly fired because he filed for workers' compensation.

Christopher Blackwell claims he worked as a truck driver for defendant Martin Resource Management Corp. since November 2008.

On May 3, Blackwell sustained an injury while working and reported it to his employer when it worsened, according to the complaint filed Dec. 18 in Jefferson County District Court.

After Blackwell sought medical treatment, he was taken off work and filed a workers' compensation claim on May 26, the suit states.

On June 1, Blackwell was released for light work duty, but was terminated on June 3 for alleged "excessive absences," the complaint says.

Even though Blackwell had already received a counseling action before his injury for excessive absences, he blames his discharge on his filing for workers' compensation.

"The supervisor's expressed dissatisfaction of excessive absences constituted a mere pretext," the suit states. "The true reason for the discharge was in retaliation for the plaintiff's action in filing a workers' compensation claim.

"Plaintiff's supervisor and the worker's compensation adjuster assigned to the claim both expressed negative attitudes toward the plaintiff's injured condition; the defendant did not follow its established policies with respect to the plaintiff's discharge and employees with similar performance were not discharged."

Blackwell is seeking back wages, interest at the legal rate, front pay, compensatory and additional damages, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Kenneth W. Lewis of Bush Lewis in Beaumont will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: B185-509.

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