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Government is not immune from retaliatory discharge claims in workers compensation, but this man didn't prove causal connection

In Lucero v. Department of Corrections, the plaintiff sued alleging that he was terminated in retaliation for exercising his rights under the Workers Disability Compensation Act (WDCA).  In short, the comp doctor said he could return to work with restrictions; and to some extent Lucero's doctors apparently agreed.  The DOC scheduled him back to work and Lucero showed up but twice worked only a few hours before giving up. 

The Court held that government employers are subject to the WDCA provisions forbidding retaliation against comp claimants, but concluded that Lucero didn't warrant protection under this provision because he had not proved a causal connection between his comp claim and being terminated.  The Court ruled that the DOC properly discharged Lucero because he didn't adequately document that he could not work within the restrictions imposed by the comp doctor.  Therefore, the employer was within its rights to fire him.

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