Employee misclassification is not a small issue in the United States generally, and in Pennsylvania in particular. In fact, at least one state lawmaker feels the issue is serious enough to warrant a new law tackling the issue. Although the state has already passed a law punishing employers for misclassifying workers, but Senator Mike Stack has pointed out that state regulators, for whatever reason, are not diligently enforcing penalties.
When it comes to workers' compensation, employers do not always cooperate with employees seeking to file a claim or with other aspects of the process. In this and the next post, we'll look at a couple recent Pennsylvania court cases which highlight this issue.
A recent accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike is an important reminder of the risks road maintenance workers face on the job. The accident, which occurred earlier this month, involved a tractor-trailer which struck and killed an equipment operator and left a maintenance former with minor injuries. The crew had apparently closed off one lane of the highway for maintenance, but this wasn’t enough to prevent the crash.
When an employee is harmed in a work-related accident, a responsible and ethical employer will honor and support that employee’s right to workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, not all employers do this in all circumstances. In some cases, employers drag their feet and oppose legitimate workers’ compensation claims. A recent decision by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania is a good reminder of the resistance employer’s sometimes put up to workers’ compensation claims.
Workplace safety should be of the utmost importance to employers. Increased safety not only prevents workers from being injured, but it often also increases employee morale and production while lowering costs. Because of its importance, every year Pennsylvania's governor gives the Governor's Award for Safety Excellence to those companies deemed to put safety first.
Every workplace has its hazards. Most of the time the threat to worker safety is easily identified and if a workplace injury occurs, provisions of workers' compensation coverage call for a pay-out of benefits for medical treatment. Wage compensation is available in certain circumstances, as are death benefits.
Workers' compensation is one of those important employee benefits enshrined in law. Every state in the U.S. has some sort of legislation on the books providing basic protection to help workers who are injured on the job get the support they need to recover and get back to work. Most industrialized countries around the world also have such laws.
There's a famous line in the Paul Newman movie, "Cool Hand Luke." It goes, "What we've got here is failure to communicate." It's used by a prison chain gang captain to explain why he's just beaten the inmate character played by Newman.