The New Mexico Court of Appeals ordered that the Santa Fe-based Cities of Gold Casino, owned by the Pueblo of Pojoaque, must rehire an injured manager it fired shortly after he requested worker’s compensation benefits, reported Risk & Insurance.
A workers’ compensation judge found that the manager was entitled to medical and compensation benefits. Eight days following the worker’s compensation judge’s decision, the tribe’s gaming commission suspended the manager’s license, and he was banned from casino premises. Later, his license was permanently revoked, and he was terminated.
While Pojoaque Gaming Inc. claimed that it could not rehire the worker because he did not have a license to do his job. The court explained that the casino ignored the fact that the manager’s license was revoked due to its actions. The court said that the statute requiring an employer to rehire a worker did not recognize that an employer might have legitimate business reasons for not rehiring the worker, and it did not allow consideration of other remedies as a substitution. Exempting an employer from the mandatory rehiring requirements would defeat the legislature’s intent of compensating a worker who was retaliated against and could discourage injured workers from exercising their rights.