What if an Employee is Injured Too Often?

I have a fairly good 48-year old employee who has a chronic problem with Workers’ Comp claims. This individual is constantly getting injured and missing a lot of work because of these injuries. I am afraid he is building up to a permanent disability claim.  Can I legally terminate him?aide-161214_1280

Dismissing an employee for filing Workers’ Comp claims is a violation of public policy.

Courts have established and upheld state statutes protecting employees from being dismissed from their jobs for filing Workers’ Comp claims. In addition, your employee may very well be protected from discrimination by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar state laws.

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Workers’ Comp Fraud: Tips to Clip It

scissors-235211_1280Legitimate Workers’ Comp claims can cost your business big money.  Fraudulent claims can drive up your costs even more and for  years ahead.  What are the most likely ways employees can claim bogus Workers’ Comp?  Following are claims to give special attention to:

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Reducing Workers’ Compensation Costs

coins-97132_1280Workers’ Comp is an important safety net of protection which benefits both the worker who risks injury on the job and the employer who would otherwise face potentially crippling liability for workplace injuries.  The Workers’ Comp insurance system is intended to streamline claims, and take these issues out of the courts and into a no-fault context.

This helps workers get the cash flow they need to replace lost incomes right away.  At the same time it helps employers avoid a lawsuit which could bankrupt them, arising out of the serious injury or death of an employee due to a workplace accident.

That said, some employers may actually be paying more than necessary for Workers’ Compensation premiums because they don’t understand how premiums are set, and what they can do to help improve their ratings to lower premiums.

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Return to Work Program for Injured Employees

1078874_65912525Return to work programs help employees who have been out on disability to gradually make their way back into the workplace.  If designed properly, such a program should include a variety of both transitional and temporary assignments.  These are not jobs with pre-set tasks, which are routinely assigned to employees who are coming back to their usual jobs after temporary restrictions.  Rather, they are flexible assignments with tasks that take into account the needs of the employees who have temporary impairments.

Keep in mind that return to work plans should be individualized, rehabilitative in focus, and ideally, the tasks should be as close to pre-injury work as possible.  Here are some specific things to do and not do to follow when designing these plans.

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OSHA Issues New Mandatory Reporting Requirements for Serious Injuries; Data to be Made Public

On Sept. 11, 2014, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule which greatly expands the scope of injuries that must be reported to OSHA on an expedited basis.  Currently, employers only have an affirmative obligation to report an injury/illness to OSHA under the following circumstances:

  1. A work-related fatality (within 8 hours)
  2. The hospitalization of three or more employees (within 8 hours)
  3. The occurrence of a point-of-operation injury on a mechanical power press (within 30 days).

Under the revised standard, an employer has the following mandatory reporting obligations effective Jan. 1, 2015:

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