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Globe employee loses fight for protected status in Massachusetts work injury claim

A 30-year veteran of the Boston Globe has lost his fight for protected status as a handicapped employee after a 10-year fight that resulted from a work injury.

The assistant press foreman for the Boston Globe slipped on oil on the printing floor and was seriously injured. The employee had spent 25 years with the Globe.

Beginning as a substitute paper handler, he worked his way through the ranks before being named assistant foreman in 1997. In that position, he was responsible for loading and operating the presses to produce the newspaper; a position that frequently required climbing up and down the enormous machines.

The employee was placed on extended medical leave and was off work for most of the following 18 months as he underwent multiple surgeries on his shoulder and knee. In accordance with company policy, the Globe continued to pay the employee his full salary, and in return the employee submitted his Massachusetts workers’ compensation payments back to the company.

He returned to work in June 2003 with a note from his physician that he was limited to no more than 5 hours of work per day. The employee claims the foreman and an assistance foreman derided him over the limited work hours. But he continued to work part of the reduced schedule for about 6 weeks. However he could not maintain the schedule because of pain and ultimately took another leave due to workplace injury.

A month later, after being examined by a physician for the Globe’s workers’ compensation insurer — who found the employee was too injured to work — he was fired for failing to remit worker’s compensation payments to his employer.

After several knee surgeries, the employee requested a light-duty position with the Globe and was denied. The employee then filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, which was dismissed for lack of proof.

He then filed a court complaint alleging employment discrimination.

A judge granted a motion by the Globe to deny all claims. The appeals court upheld the dismissal of all charges against the Globe, finding that “reasonable accommodations” of a handicapped person did not apply if an employee was unable to perform the basic job functions required of a position.

This case illustrates the complexity of work injury law in Massachusetts. After almost a decade, this employee is out of work and was unable to seek protected status as a handicapped individual at a job he held for nearly 30 years. Hiring a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer at the earliest stages of a work injury case is the best option to protect your rights and the long-term financial future of you and your family.

If you have been injured on the job in Boston or are dealing with a workers’ compensation claim, contact Massachusetts Injury Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.