An Illinois agricultural construction company is accused of firing an employee when he refused to be part of the company's alleged insurance fraud scheme.
Steven Dion Vinyard filed a lawsuit Sept. 29 in Madison County Circuit Court against Bob Lamb Inc.
Vinyard says he began working for Bob Lamb in June 1993 building grain elevators and other farm equipment. In June 2011 Vinyard claims he hurt his back on the job and asked to take a few days off. Vinyard alleges his manager, Jacob Lamb, told him to turn the claim into his private health insurance instead of filing a workers' compensation claim. Lamb allegedly told Vinyard he would be laid off, collect unemployment, and if the income was less than what he was paid by Bob Lamb, then the the company will pay the difference.
Vinyard says he went to see a doctor for back surgery in November 2012. He claims he was told to file a workers' compensation claim and that he could not bill his medical care to his private health insurance. When Vinyard told Lamb what the doctor said, Lamb allegedly became upset and complained that his workers' compensation insurance premiums would go up. But Vinyard says he made it clear he would not lie about his back injury.
According to the complaint, Vinyard filed a workers' compensation claim and returned to work with restrictions in 2013, while his attorneys were in discussions with Bob Lamb's attorneys about the claim. On Jan. 24 Vinyard says he was fired from his job.
Vinyard accuses the company of retaliatory discharge and of violating Illinois' Whistleblower Act. He asks for more than $100,000 in damages for lost wages and benefits.
Attorneys Lee W. Barron and William D. Buchanan, of Alton, represent Vinyard.
Madison County Circuit Court case number: 14-L-1332.