AGE DISCRIMINATION DISMISSAL REVERSED
Marcus Lynn Whitson v. City of Hoover:
On January 16, 2009, the Alabama Supreme Court considered this case wherein the employee settled his workers’ compensation case and then sued his employer for retaliatory discharge and age discrimination. The employee voluntarily dismissed the retaliatory discharge claim brought pursuant to§ 25-5-11.1, Ala. Code 1975. The circuit judge then dismissed the age discrimination claim because the employee had accepted workers’ compensation benefits and, as such, the employer was protected by the exclusivity provisions of the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed the dismissal because it could not be reasonably concluded that the settlement agreement between the parties expressed any intention to release any claims other than those arising under the Workers' Compensation Act.
As a practice pointer, if you intend for the workers’ compensation settlement to cover anything other than workers’ compensation benefits, then you should specify your intention in writing.