Last updated on July 29th, 2015 at 01:08 pm
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced a settlement with C&S Wholesale Grocers following a review into the company’s written policy of firing employees who were injured in a “preventable accident” within their initial 90-day probationary period of employment. C&S has two distribution centers in Newburgh and Chester, New York.
Under the company’s policy, a probationary employee who was injured would be terminated. According to Schneiderman, the policy violated the law because it dissuaded workers from reporting injuries and filing claims. The Attorney General’s subsequent investigation revealed that, during 2010 and 2011, nearly every accident involving an injury was determined to be “preventable,” including incidents where workers experienced back pain without an identifiable cause. The investigation also found that, at least as recently as 2013, C&S continued to issue written reprimands to employees for getting injured, warning them that future incidents (injuries) would result in “further disciplinary actions up to and including termination.”
The settlement requires C&S to formally change its policy and to train all employees and supervisors regarding workers’ rights to file for Workers’ Compensation benefits without retaliation. It also requires monitoring of compliance for two years, including designating an internal compliance monitor and providing relevant documents to the New York Attorney General’s Office. As part of the settlement, C&S will pay $46,000 to the Attorney General in resolution of the office’s investigation, consisting of $36,000 in damages to be distributed to former employees terminated and $10,000 in penalties.