In Massachusetts, an employer may not terminate a worker for exercising his or her right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Despite this, an employee who is seeking such benefits may be fired for other well-articulated reasons. In Brewington v. Suffolk County Sheriff’s Dept., a jail officer suffered a dental injury in an altercation at work. As a result of his injury, the man sought workers’ compensation benefits. While gathering proof in support of his claim, the jailer intentionally submitted a back-dated report and medical progress note that was written months later to his employer’s third-party administrator. After this was discovered, the man was terminated from his position.
In response to being fired, the former jailer filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer in Massachusetts Superior Court. According to the man, he was fired for exercising his right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The man’s former employer then filed a motion for summary judgment. In general, such a motion asks a court to rule there are no genuine issues of material fact in dispute and to enter judgment in favor of the moving party. After concluding no reasonable jury could find the man was terminated for exercising his rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act, the trial court granted the employer’s motion.