James Stahl had been a loyal, productive employee of Light Haus glass company of Madison, Wisconsin, for 11 years when he suffered a knee injury at work in the spring of 2012. After undergoing surgery, therapy and a six-week recovery period, Mr. Stahl’s doctors released him to return to work without further physical limitations in July 2012. Four days later, Light Haus fired Mr. Stahl, and offered him two weeks’ pay to release all claims against Light Haus. Mr. Stahl refused to sign the release of claims agreement the employer offered him, and hired Madison workers comp lawyer Aaron Halstead at Hawks Quindel to represent him.

On November 5, 2013, after hearing two days of testimony, an administrative law judge (ALJ) from the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Division agreed Mr. Stahl had been discharged from employment in violation of Wisconsin’s refusal to rehire statute, which prohibits employers from unreasonably refusing to reinstate employees after they have been cleared to return to work. Specifically, the ALJ stated as follows:

Here we have a faithful employee for almost 11 years, there being no evidence to the contrary; yet the employer never once, in good faith or in a demonstration of friendliness, contacted Mr. Stahl while he was recovering from his surgery to tell him that they thought that business had slowed down and that they might not be able to bring him back. In street language, it appears that the discharge came as a bolt out of the blue!

After so finding, the ALJ awarded Mr. Stahl $55,000 in lost wages, and ordered Light Haus to continue making weekly payments to Mr. Stahl until it has paid him an amount equivalent to one year’s wages. The ALJ’s decision can be found here.

Madison workers comp lawyer Aaron Halstead represented Mr. Stahl. If you believe your employer has wrongfully fired you, or refused to bring you back to work after a work injury, the experienced Madison workers comp attorneys at Hawks Quindel are available to consult with you about your case.  There is no charge for the initial consultation, and no fee whatsoever unless we are successful in obtaining an award or settlement for you.

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