Indiana sues AT&T for suspending injured workers
Company claims actions were for violating safety policies
A lawsuit filed by the Indiana Department of Labor alleges that Indiana Bell Telephone Co., an AT&T subsidiary, “has a practice and policy” of suspending employees after they report work-related injuries.
According to the lawsuit, “This policy punishes employees for reporting injuries and consequently prevents or deters Indiana Bell employees from exercising their right to report work-related injuries.”
The suit is based on complaints filed with the state by Bell Telephone employees Daniel Drummond, Shon Payne and William Ingram, who sustained on-the-job injuries in 2012 or 2013 and were each suspended for a day after reporting those injuries – in violation of state and federal laws.
A spokesman for AT&T denied that the company suspended employees for reporting injuries, but said employees may be suspended for violating safety rules and practices.
Drummond, a premises technician, slipped on a clear substance and suffered a sprained knee and ankle that caused him to miss 22 days of work. When he returned to work, AT&T suspended him for a day because he “violated company safety practices by not surveying the work area and seeing a clear substance on the workplace floor,” according to the suit.
Payne, also a premises technician, cut his finger on the job and was questioned about the incident by a manager. The company suspended him for a day for violating safety policies, the suit says.
Ingram required surgery and missed three months of work due to an arm injury sustained on the job. After being questioned by a manager following his return to work, the company suspended him a day for violating safety policy, according to the suit.
The lawsuit describes the company’s actions as “willful, malicious, and oppressive.” It seeks money for lost wages, benefits and expenses, as well as unspecified punitive damages.