A Clinton County man claims he can no longer find work after his employer discharged him because he filed for workers' compensation benefits.

Ricky Koehler filed a lawsuit Sept. 7 in Madison County Circuit Court against Kehrer Brothers Construction and Kehrer Brothers West Roofing.

Koehler claims he worked for Kehrer prior to June 6, 2008, when he sustained injuries to his left hand and wrist.

On June 6, 2008, Koehler requested an application for adjustment of claim, according to the complaint. Later, Koehler returned to work.
Upon Koehler's return to work, a Kehrer officer recommended Koehler fire the lawyer who had represented him in his workers' compensation claim, the suit states.

When Koehler refused to do so, Kehrer told Koehler the company had no available work for him to perform and effectively discharged him, the complaint says.

"Defendants' refusal to offer work available to plaintiff was in retaliation for his exercising his rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act," the suit states.

Since his firing, Koehler has been unable to find new work because a Kehrer officer told others in the industry not to hire Koehler, he claims.

In his four-count complaint, Koehler seeks an unspecified judgment and punitive damages, plus costs.

James E. DeFranco and Darrell L. Flesner of DeFranco and Bradley in Swansea will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-923.

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