Meijer cleans house on work comp claimants: court holds no proof of retaliation
Faith Freedom was a 6-year cashier at the Midland Meijer store when she reported a shoulder injury that resulted in a 4 month workers compensation claim. During the period the comp claim was pending, Meijer required her to attend an investigation regarding errors involving her cash register. It then deemed she was negligent in managing the register--resulting in $300.00 in losses--and fired her. On the same day, Meijer fired two other comp claimants--apparently on similar grounds. She sought unemployment and proved that she had not been guilty of misconduct, therefore enabling her to collect unemployment. She then filed a lawsuit against Meijer, arguing that her firing, like the firing of her two co-workers, was deliberate retaliation against her for filing a work comp claim and also a false light invastion of privacy.
The jury entered a verdict against Freedom and she appealed, arguing errors in how the evidence and the pleadings were handled. The reviewing court held that there were no substantial errors that denied her a fair decision. It held that she had not demonstrated that the firing of the three comp claimants was retaliatory and that Meijer was properly allowed to admit evidence of issues in Freedom's employment history, even though Meijer conceded that they were irrelevant to her termination.