Iowa jury awards $100,000 in COVID-related unemployment dispute


Skid steer loader at CNH plant.  The company lost a lawsuit filed by a former employee at its Burlington factory who was fired after receiving unemployment compensation because he said he was sick due to COVID-19.

A Des Moines County jury has ruled in favor of a Burlington man who is seeking damages after being fired from his job for filing an unemployment claim related to COVID-19.

The jury awarded Jonathan Critser $100,000 after a six-day trial that included testimony from eight witnesses. His former employer, heavy equipment manufacturer CNH Industrial, and two of its human resources employees were named as defendants in the case.

“John is very satisfied with the jury’s verdict and hopes this lawsuit will help protect other employees from wrongful termination,” Critser’s attorney Leonard Bates wrote in an email.

Bates said all of the $100,00 awarded by the jury was for emotional distress and that Critser, who is “happily employed at another company”, did not ask for his job back.

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