PHILADELPHIA – A plaintiff who allegedly suffered a shoulder injury in a work accident and followed up with a Workers' Compensation claim alleges that claim was the reason he was wrongfully terminated by his employer.
Thomas R. Wehrberger of Havertown filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on March 16 versus Jowitt & Rodgers Company, of Philadelphia.
Wehrberger, a Jowitt & Rodgers employee of 20 years, was allegedly injured on Oct. 19, 2016, when removing a center-wheel balance from a shelf and his shoulder gave out. The following day, he reported the injury, filed a Workers' Compensation claim and visited his employer’s doctor, who diagnosed the injury as a right shoulder strain.
The doctor did not order an X-Ray or MRI at the time, wanting to wait until the swelling subsided in case Wehrberger also suffered a labrum tear, the suit says. Wehrberger was cleared to work on a light duty basis until his follow-up appointment on Oct. 26, 2016, the suit says.
At that point, Wehrberger claimed the defendant targeted him with retaliation, in violation of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act, through reassigning his duties to other employees (including ones he was cleared to perform). At the follow-up appointment, Wehrberger was conclusively diagnosed with a shoulder strain and cleared to return to his normal work responsibilities, the suit says.
But less than three weeks after filing the Workers' Compensation claim, Wehrberger says he was fired on Nov. 7, 2016 and that the application was the proximate and only cause of his termination.
For wrongful discharge, the plaintiff is seeking a rate of pay and other benefits and emoluments of employment, to which he would have been entitled, had he not been subjected to the unlawful acts complained of herein; an award of front pay, if appropriate, punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs of suit, attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, and such further and additional relief as may be just and proper, or that the interests of justice may require.
The plaintiff is represented by Sidney L. Gold of Sidney L. Gold & Associates, in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180301850
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org