An Illinois employer has received the first felony conviction for failure to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. According to a State of Illinois press release, Mr. Ahmed Ghosien, d/b/a Ghosien European Auto Werks, refused to comply with Illinois law regarding workers’ compensation insurance despite having been given several opportunities to become compliant.
On July 25, 2013, Mr. Ghosien entered a guilty plea to the Class 4 felony, which is the first felony conviction against an employer for failure to obtain workers’ compensation insurance since the law increased severity of the offense from a misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony as part of Gov. Quinn’s reforms to the Worker’s Compensation Act in 2011. Pursuant to the guilty plea, Mr. Ghosien is required to return to court in October 2013 for sentencing and to pay a fine of $25,000.
Illinois law requires employers to obtain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. While most employers purchase workers’ compensation coverage from an insurance company, some employers obtain the state’s approval to self-insure. In addition to the requirement that employers obtain workers’ compensation insurance, employers are also prohibited from charging employees for any part of the workers’ compensation insurance premiums or benefits and are required to:
- Post a notice in each workplace that explains workers’ compensation rights and provides the name, policy number and contact information of the employer’s insurance carrier.
- Maintain records of work-related injuries and report injuries involving more than 3 lost work days to the IWCC.
- Refrain from harassing, discharging, refusing to rehire or in any way discriminating against an employee who exercises his or her rights under the law.
Employees can check an employer’s workers’ compensation compliance at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) website or contact the IWCC’s Insurance Compliance Division at (866) 352-3033.
“Employers who refuse to obtain workers’ compensation insurance put their employees at risk, gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding competitors, and ultimately shift the cost of their business to Illinois taxpayers,” Michael P. Latz, Chairman, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, said in the press release. “I commend the diligence of our investigators and this cooperative effort to help protect workers.”
If you were injured in a workplace accident, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys.