Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Aggressive Workers Compensation Claims Management Used to Support $1.6 Million Retaliation Judgment

Haggar, which has seen more than its fair share of workers compensation retaliation claims in its border area plants, has another unpleasant visit to the courthouse in Haggar Clothing Co. v. Hernandez (Tex. App. - Corpus Christi 8/21/03). Here its active workers compensation claims management policy which included having a nurse accompany workers to doctor visits and a safety policy which gave awards for the absence of lost time injuries, were used to support the malice necessary for punitive damages. Additionally, the trial court allowed testimony by other employees who were employed at the same plant during the same time period to testify about their own experiences and in fact instructed the jury that the termination of other employees could be considered in assessing punitive damages. This case exemplifies how good "control" policies can be spun another way. This time with a nasty result.


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