Retail giant Walmart has been the subject of various employment issues lately. Employees in nearly 100 cities went on strike nearly a week ago on Black Friday – one of the biggest shopping days of the year – in order to raise awareness among shoppers about low pay, lack of benefits, and Walmart’s “pattern of punishing workers who try to organize.”
Additionally, Walmart recently agreed to a settlement that will result in a payout of $8million to Walmart employees. The settlement will resolve claims that Walmart hindered doctors and other medical providers from making independent judgments on how to treat injured employees in connection with worker’s compensation claims.
Pursuant to the settlement, Walmart and its claims adjuster will pay $4 million and Concentra Health Services will pay another $4 million through its insurer. The settlement was approved in March 2012 by Judge Robert Blackburn in the U.S. District Court for Colorado. As a result of the settlement, injured Colorado employees who were treated a Concentra facility will each receive $520 and those injured employees who were treated at other medical facilities will receive $50 each.
Employees who have received their settlement checks are encouraged by the claims adjuster to cash them, and employees are reminded that Walmart is prohibited from retaliating against any employees for their participation in the lawsuit or its settlement.
Walmart has also agreed to provide training to those personnel who handle worker’s compensation claims in Colorado. Worker’s compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that provides compensation to employees who suffer on-the-job injuries. Each state has its own laws and programs for workers’ compensation, but generally, employees who are injured on the job are entitled worker’s compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury.
In order to receive worker’s compensation benefits, however, an employee must first report the injury to the employee and see a medical professional. In most states, injured employees are referred to a doctor that is doctor recruited and paid for by their employers.
If the employer fails to provide workers’ compensation benefits following an accident, the injured employee must file three copies of its application with the state worker’s compensation agency. The employee – not the employer – is required to prove that he or she is required to workers’ compensation benefits by demonstrating that on the date of the accident, the injured worker was an employee of the employer, that the worker sustained injuries or illness as during the course of employment, the medical condition was caused or aggravated by accident, and that the employer received proper notice of the accident.
If you would like additional information regarding workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois, visit the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission website at http://www.iwcc.il.gov/ or contact the Chicago workers’ compensation law firm of Ankin Law Offices, LLC at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation.