C&S Wholesale Grocers has come to a $46,000 settlement with New York state officials alleging that C&S’s employment policies illegally dissuaded new hires from reporting injuries sustained on the job.
The settlement follows an investigation by the state Attorney General’s office into C&S's written policy of firing employees who were injured in a “preventable accident” within their initial 90-day probationary period of employment, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
C&S operates distribution facilities in Newburgh and Chester, N.Y.
“An employee injured on the job deserves medical care and workers’ compensation benefits — not a pink slip,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Employers must not set policies that dissuade workers from reporting injuries and getting the care and support they’re entitled to under the law.”
The 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, Schneiderman said. A total of 18 workers were terminated under the policy during that time period. 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 could result in “further disciplinary actions up to and including termination.”
The settlement agreement requires C&S to formally change its policy, and to train all employees and supervisors regarding workers’ right to file for workers’ compensation benefits without retaliation. 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 pursuant to the unlawful policy and $10,000 in penalties.
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