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United States: SC Plaintiff Must Show More Than Mere Proximity in Time to Support Retalia-tory Discharge Claim

January 30, 2021 (1 min read)

Construing South Carolina law, a federal district court held that a plaintiff's mere showing of proximity in time between her injury and her termination was insufficient to support a claim of retaliatory discharge. Interpreting S.C. Code Ann. § 41-1-80, and examining relevant South Carolina case law, the court acknowledged that an injured employee need not have actually filed a workers' compensation claim before the termination, but the employee must do something that would lead the employer to infer that a claim was likely to be filed. Here, the plaintiff notified her former employer by email on August 27, 2019, that she had fallen and sustained an injury. She did not mention any medical treatment, nor did she request the employer pay for medical services. She had no other communication with the employer until the termination. Under these circumstances, the federal court held she had not sufficiently alleged the tort of retaliatory discharge. It dismissed her case, but did so without prejudice, and gave her 14 days to amend her pleadings. 

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the co-Editor-in-Chief and Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. 

See Alexander v. PharMerica Logistic Servs., LLC, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11245 (D.S.C. Jan. 21, 2021)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 104.07.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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