Al's Automotive driver claims retaliatory discharge over work comp request

Kelly Holleran Nov. 10, 2011, 1:00am


A former delivery truck driver failed to return to work after his boss refused to obtain an appointment at a hospital for the man's alleged injury while working. The driver now claims his boss illegally terminated him in response to his request for workers' compensation benefits.

Gerald L. Thompson filed a lawsuit Nov. 4 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Al's Automotive Supply of Edwardsville.

In his complaint, Thompson claims he was working as a delivery truck driver for Al's when he sustained back injuries because of the design of the truck seat he was forced to use during his deliveries.

Because of his subsequent back pain, Thompson claims he visited a doctor, where he received treatment and filled out a workers' compensation form.

On June 2, 2010, one of Al's owners called Thompson to question why he had made the claim. At some point in the conversation, the owner instructed Thompson to go to St. Elizabeth's Hospital to obtain a doctor's opinion on his alleged workers' compensation injury. However, Thompson told the owner he did not want to go without first speaking to his attorney, according to the complaint. In turn, the owner asked Thompson to clock out and go home, the suit states.

Later, Thompson did attempt to schedule an appointment at the hospital, but was told he would need employer approval before the appointment was made, the complaint says.

Thompson says he then called Al's owner to request approval, but the owner refused to provide the needed authorization.

"Plaintiff understood these actions by the Defendant to mean that he was terminated," the suit states. "Plaintiff has never been asked to return to work by Defendant."

Thompson claims he lost his job in retaliation for his workers' compensation filing, the complaint says.

Because of his job loss, Thompson claims he lost wages and experienced pain, suffering, humiliation and embarrassment.

Thomas O. Falb of Williamson, Webster, Falb and Glisson in Alton will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-623.

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