Can Workers Comp Benefits be Awarded for Emotional Trauma?

Posted: July 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Illinois workers comp, Overtime, stress injury, Workers Comp, Workers Comp Arbitrators, Workers Comp Benefits, Workers compensation attorney | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off

bullyWorker’s compensation consists of benefits that can be awarded to workers who receive injuries while on the job.  This is also a way for business to be protected by lawsuits because by taking the benefits, the injured party waives their rights to seek compensatory damages.  But what if the injuries are not physical but emotional instead?

Recently, a man decided to sue his former employee because of the harassment he received at work.  The suit was against Chicago-based inventory services company RGIS Inc.  It was alleged that while employed there, Frederick Schroeder was on the receiving end of negative comments about his sexual orientation.

After his supervisor embarrassed Schroeder by calling him a slur in front of coworkers, Schroeder decided to quit.  RGIS tried to repair the issue by rehiring Schroeder to a different location and by investigating the issues with his previous manager.

This turned out to be a bad situation for Schroeder.  The new location that he had to report to was two hours away from his home.  And due to the weird hours required for his inventory position, he would have to sleep on the office floor in between working 20 hour days.  The situation became unworkable because between the commute and work, Schroeder was extremely exhausted.

In 2010, Schroeder resigned from RGIS again.  He felt that they did not respond to his complaints about his work schedule.  He also claimed that RGIS never followed through with the investigation of his former supervisor.  Schroeder brought a lawsuit against RGIS because the stressful work environment caused severe mental anguish, humiliation, loss of income and other damages.

An Illinois circuit judge ruled that the lawsuit would not be able to move forward because the injuries Schroeder sustained were from his work schedule.  As such RGIS was not responsible for damages because of workers compensation exclusive remedy provisions.  If you have any questions about your rights as an employee or what is considered a workers comp issue, contact an experienced workers comp lawyer in DuPage County today.

image courtesy of  Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net


Driver fails to deliver convincing evidence that overtime was mandatory

Posted: February 20th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Overtime, Personal Injury, Workers Comp | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

LaraAccording to a recent issue of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin, a driver stated he had been struck in the face while on the job by an office door.  He was awarded temporary disability benefits and medical expenses.

However, issues arose when the parties were attempting to determine the average weekly wage.  It was not clear whether or not hours worked in excess of eight hours a day would be classified as mandatory overtime.  According to evidence, truck drivers were required to complete additional assignments after returning to the terminal.  These additional assignments would push the drivers over the eight-hour straight work day.  Drivers had no choice in the matter of completing the additional assignments, unless a driver with less seniority was present and had not completed the eight-hour day.

It was reported that if the driver refused to accept the additional work, it was possible they could be subject to termination or disciplinary action.

The arbitrator relied on the collective bargaining agreement and the policy of the defendant in order to prove that the hours worked by the claimant were not mandatory.  The arbitrator explained that all drivers were not subjected to immediate termination/disciplinary action if they did not accept overtime hours.  Therefore, these overtime hours were not mandatory.  It is true, however, that if no discretion was permitted and drivers were subjected to immediate consequences, such as termination, the ruling would be much different.

In the end, the Commission determined that the claimant’s average weekly wage would be calculated without the inclusion of the overtime hours.

In this case, it was determined that the claimant was not being subjected to mandatory overtime hours.  In many other cases however, this may not be completely true.  If you have found yourself in a situation in which you are working mandatory overtime hours and they are not being included in your average weekly wages in the event that you have suffered an injury on the job, you should contact an experienced Illinois attorney immediately to explore your options and help you fight for your rights.