On May 13, 2013 the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that an employee who claims he was terminated for seeking workers’ compensation is entitled to a jury trial. It further ruled in Schmitz v. U.S. Steel Corporation that the employee’s claim that he was “threatened with termination” also was appropriately brought under the Workers’ Compensation statute preventing retaliation, Minn. Stat. § 176.82, sub. 1. Halunen Law attorneys represented the employee, Mr. Schmitz. To read the Court of Appeals decision, click Worker has Cause of Action-Minnesota Lawyer.
The district court below had previously denied Schmitz’s argument that he was entitled to a jury trial. After a bench trial, the district court ruled that Schmitz was entitled to damages for his employer’s threat to his termination, but denied his claim of retaliatory termination. After the court ruled that employees are entitled to a jury on a retaliatory workers’ compensation claim, the claim is now headed back to trial and a jury will decide whether Schmitz was terminated in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim.