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Injured worker failed to prove retaliation: Appeals court


A restaurant worker who fell on the job failed to prove her subsequent firing was related to a workers compensation claim she initiated two days after losing her job, after insisting in her immediate post-incident report that she was not injured, an appeals court in Michigan ruled Tuesday.

Plaintiff Kyra Donald’s lawsuit claiming “retaliation for reporting a workplace incident” stems from events transpiring over four days. Ms. Donald tripped and fell while working at the restaurant on Jan. 22, 2017, but claimed in accident reports that she did not need medical attention and at first did not want to fill out an incident form; she was fired on Jan. 24, 2017, due to what the restaurant claimed was “organizational restructuring”; and she went to a doctor on Jan. 26, 2017, complaining of a strained back stemming from her fall at work, according to court documents in Kyra Donald v. Anna’s House Kalamazoo LLC, filed in the Court of Appeals Michigan in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

A trial court dismissed the lawsuit on the basis that Ms. Donald’s retaliation accusation lacked facts. The appeals court agreed, writing: “plaintiff bore the burden to establish a causal connection between any protected activity and the adverse employment action. … Plaintiff cannot establish causation merely by pointing to the short two-day gap between the accident and her termination.”

“To prove causation, plaintiff must show something more than merely a coincidence in time between protected activity and adverse employment action,” the ruling states. “Plaintiff has failed to do so in any way.”

The restaurant nor attorneys involved could not immediately be reached for comment.



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