Court Fired Workers Get More Than Six Months to File Comp Claim

By Staff Report

Oct. 25, 2010

A law requiring fired employees to file workers’ compensation claims within six months of their termination is unconstitutional, Oklahoma’s Supreme Court has ruled in a case involving cumulative trauma.

A trial court in Ponca Iron & Metal Inc. vs. Jackie Wilkinson originally found that Wilkinson was entitled to medical care and up to 52 weeks of temporary total disability benefits beginning in August 2006, court records show.

She was terminated in December 2005 from a job that included keyboard use and filing work.

A Workers’ Compensation Court upheld the trial court’s finding, but a Court of Civil Appeals reversed and remanded the case. On remand, the trial court denied the employer’s argument that a six-month statute of limitations applied to the case.

The trial court held that the statute of limitations in the law cited by the employer “unreasonably singles out employees who have been terminated and have sustained cumulative trauma injuries.”

The trial court also said the law is in direct conflict with a general, two-year statute of limitations for filing cumulative trauma injuries.

Oklahoma’s Legislature enacted the law cited by the employer to curtail fired workers from filing retaliatory workers’ comp claims, court records state.

In ruling on the case Oct. 19, the Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed that the state law is unconstitutional. It ruled that “the classification of injured employees on the basis of continued vs. terminated employment is a false and deficient classification of the larger class of injured employees because it creates preference for members in the continued employment group and results in unequal treatment for certain members of the terminated group.”

The temporary total disability benefits award was sustained.   

 Filed by Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail


Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.

What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know

Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1.  Thr...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog


Exempt vs. non-exempt employees: knowing the difference

Summary Employees are exempt from FLSA requirements when they meet specific exemption criteria based on...

Department of Labor, exempt employees, Misclassification, non-exempt employees

workforce blog


California fast food workers bill: why it’s more than meets the eye and how to prepare

Summary: California signs bill establishing a “fast food council” that has the power to raise the indus...