(a)(1) Any employer who willfully discriminates in regard to the hiring or tenure of work or any term or condition of work of any individual on account of the individual's claim for benefits under this chapter, or who in any manner obstructs or impedes the filing of claims for benefits under this chapter, shall be subject to a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) as determined by the Workers' Compensation Commission.
(2) This fine shall be payable to the Second Injury Trust Fund and paid by the employer and not by the carrier.
(b)(1) In addition, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover costs and a reasonable attorney's fee payable from the fine.
(2) Provided, however, if the employee is the nonprevailing party, the attorney's fee and costs shall, at the election of the employer, be paid by the employee or deducted from future workers' compensation benefits.
(c) The employer may also be guilty of a Class D felony.
(d) This section shall not be construed as establishing an exception to the employment at will doctrine.
(e) A purpose of this section is to preserve the exclusive remedy doctrine and specifically annul any case law inconsistent herewith, including, but not necessarily limited to: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Baysinger, 306 Ark. 239, 812 S.W.2d 463 (1991) ; Mapco, Inc. v. Payne, 306 Ark. 198, 812 S.W.2d 483 (1991) ; and Thomas v. Valmac Industries, Inc., 306 Ark. 228, 812 S.W.2d 673 (1991) .
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