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Archive for the ‘employer’ tag

Employee Misclassification: Employee or Independent Contractor?

May 13th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

employee misclassification, independent contractor, employee, employer, workers' compEmployee misclassification impacts workers’ compensation benefits. When an employer makes the effort to classify an individual as an independent contractor, the employer no longer retains the responsibility of covering workers’ compensation coverage for that person. Employee misclassification has become an increasing problem in the trucking industry and construction industry, not just in Illinois, but across the country, when employees might only learn too late that an employer has misclassified their role with the company.

If an employer forces you to change your worker status but keep the same job responsibilities, you could be exposed to major risks. Illinois legislators outlined the importance of properly classifying an employee in the Employee Classification Act of 2008, when misclassification of construction employees removed benefits for those workers. After that Act was implemented, the Department of Labor took on the responsibility for investigating claims of misclassification. Those employers caught trying to save money by listing construction or trucking employees as independent contractors can be subject to fines.

Under workers’ compensation guidelines, it must be clear that an employee and employer relationships exists. The term “employee” is rather broad, but the following factors are typically investigated in a case alleging misclassification:

  • How the worker was paid;
  • Who set the ground rules for the terms under which work was completed;
  • What skills were necessary to complete the work; and
  • Who was responsible for providing equipment, tools, and materials for the job.

Independent contractors will retain control over most of these factors and he or she will work off of a bid system, while an employee is governed by the employer’s decisions.

Being misclassified has dangerous ramifications for employees who believe they are protected under workers’ compensation. If you have been injured on the job, you need to contact an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney.

Skin Injury: A Common Occupational Problem

April 30th, 2014 at 12:21 pm

skin disease, skin injury, workers compensation lawyer, attorney, IllinoisExposure between chemicals and human skin is one of the biggest problems in the workplace from an occupational safety perspective. The rate and the number of cases involving skin disease outpaces respiratory illnesses every single year. Skin injuries may disable or permanently scar an employee, leading that individual to file a workers’ compensation claim.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, skin disease reports were received at a rate of 3.4 injuries for every 10,000 employees. Respiratory illnesses, however, were only reported at a rate of 1.9 for every 10,000 employees. The majority of chemicals involved in these workplace accidents are quickly absorbed into the skin, causing immediate health impacts and can even contribute to the overall dosage of the chemical when it is ingested, inhaled, or absorbed. When compared with the lung, the skin is a faster more of exposure for an individual.

Although OSHA specifically publishes standards for particular segments of the population more likely to be exposed, accidents can happen in a broad range of industries. Shipyards, marine terminals, and construction sites are high risk areas because employees are more likely to be working near dangerous chemicals.

An employer or supervisor is responsible for educating all employees about appropriate protocol and taking measures to promote safety in the workplace. All employees working in or around dangerous chemicals should be aware of safety gear and emergency procedures if exposure were to happen.

Unfortunately, in situations where spills or other accidental contact happens, a worker can be exposed to high amounts of chemicals through the skin very quickly. With such a fast absorption rate, an individual might be facing short-term and long-term injuries in the form of skin disease.

If your life has been changed by skin disease you got from a workplace injury, contact an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney today to learn more about your rights.

Responsibilities of Your Employer If You Are Injured At Work

April 29th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

workers compensation, IWCC, Illinois Workers Compensation Commission, lawyer, attorneyAll employers in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Insurance, are required to carry worker’s compensation coverage for employees. If a person is hired as an independent contractor, employers are not required to carry worker’s compensation insurance, which has led to some changes in what can be considered a contract position and what cannot; several disputes have recently arisen regarding a person’s title versus his or her professional responsibilities. All worker’s compensation benefits are covered by licensed insurance companies and must, according to the Illinois Department of Insurance, be among those certified by the state. A list of those companies can be found here.

According to the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission (IWCC), if a person is injured at work there are several responsibilities that the employer must undertake by law. First, an employer must render appropriate and necessary first aid and medical services. Immediately after that, the employer must contact his worker’s compensation underwriter, even if he disagrees with the employee’s claim. If the employee was injured to the extent that he or she cannot work for at least three days, the employer has a responsibility to either:

  • Begin Temporary Total Disability (TTD) payments;
  • Provide the employee with a written explanation of what he needs to begin TTD payments; or
  • Provide the employee with a written explanation of he is denying the benefits.

Employers must maintain complete records of all worker’s compensation claims, and must submit any and all claims to the IWCC. If a workers dies while at work, the report must be submitted to the IWCC within two days of the incident. If a worker is injured but not incapacitated for more than three days, an employer is not responsible to submit a claim to the IWCC.

If you suspect that your employer has not met worker’s compensation responsibilities in Illinois, you may be eligible for a lawsuit against him. The most important first step is to contact a worker’s compensation attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio today.

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