Court Awards $3.3M in Injured Worker’s Retaliation Case

Dean Foods was ordered to pay $3.3 million in punitive damages after an Illinois jury found that the company retaliated against an employee who filed workers’ compensation claims.

The jury found that Dean Foods refused to call Richard Jankowski back to work after his on-the-job injury and after he refused work that exceeded his medical restrictions, the Northwest Herald reported.

A trial in Jankowski’s case against Dean Foods concluded this month in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. A judgment of $3,316,443 was entered against Dean Foods and its wholly owned subsidiary, Dean Dairy Holdings LLC.

According to court records cited by the Herald, Jankowski was injured while working for Dean Foods and had surgery in August 2013. Although he tried to return to light-duty work around August 2014, his employer reportedly didn’t offer him a position.

The jury also found that Dean Foods violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to engage in an “interactive process# with Jankowski and not accommodating his disability.

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