Posted: July 29th, 2011 | Author: jliace | Filed under: Types of Injuries, Workers Compensation Claim | Tags: Hearing loss, Illinois Workers Compensation Act, Noise levels, Workers Compensation Attorney, Workers' Compensation Lawyer
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act has a specific provision that covers hearing loss caused by noise levels in the workplace. There are very specific rules on whether this loss is covered under the Act. The hearing loss can be caused over a long period of time. It can get very confusing and can be extremely difficulty to prove. Employers typically fight these cases due to the complexities and details, which must be established by the worker.
In order to prevail in a hearing loss claim in Illinois, the employee must prove the noise levels that he/she was exposed to and establish that he/she was exposed to the noise levels for an adequate time of day. The hours per day that an employee must prove they were exposed to the noise levels depends on the decibel level of the noise. Many large employers have noise surveys done form time to time in insure they are complying with OSHA regulations. These noise surveys are important if an employee is going to establish the hearing loss is related to work related noise exposure.
Also the deficiencies in hearing must occur at the 1000, 2000, and 3000 frequency ranges. Hearing loss outside these ranges is not considered in a workers’ compensation claim. Whether the hearing loss is within these ranges must be determined by audiometric studies. Many employers conduct yearly or bi yearly hearing test on their employees. These progressive studies can be important in showing the constant decrease in an employee’s hearing caused by the noise levels in the working environment.
Other evidence that is considered in a hearing loss case is whether the employer provided hearing protection and what type of hearing protection was provided. This can be important in determining whether any hearing loss is covered under the Act.
As you can see, proving that hearing loss is compensable under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act can be difficult and extremely detailed.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate these waters and insure all the evidence that is available to you is used to prove your claim.
Posted: July 29th, 2011 | Author: jliace | Filed under: Retaliatory Discharge, Wrongful termination | Tags: Employee rights, Retaliatory discharge, Wrongful termination
Illinois Court Rules That Ex-Employees Can Proceed With Retaliatory Discharge Claims
On July 21, 2011, the Illinois Appellate Court held that ex-employees of a seed company who reported to a former employee that seed bags weighed less than marked on the label are entitled to a trial on their retaliatory discharge claims. Although there are advantages to disclosing information directly to a government or law enforcement agency,1 the Court held that this is not required to establish a retaliatory discharge.
A successful retaliatory discharge case requires a former employee to prove the following: (1) the employment was terminated by the employer, (2) the discharge was in retaliation for an action by the employee, and (3) the discharge violates a clear mandate of public policy. Typically, the first element is not at issue. However, retaliatory actions that do not result in discharge are not covered by this remedy.
In this case, the employer is an agricultural supply business which grows, packages, and distributes soybean seeds for commercial agricultural use. The Illinois Department of Agriculture investigated a complaint that the seed bags were underweight. Although the complaint was not made by the employees who were discharged they claim that the employer believed that they blew the whistle.
The Court found that there was evidence of causation. According to one of the employees, a supervisor stated that if the company found out that any of the employees complained to the State about underweight bags they would be fired.
The Court held that a mandate of public policy was involved because the Illinois Seed Law “creates a statutory scheme governing aspects of the sale of seed, including proper labeling and weighing.” The mislabeling of the seed bags ran counter to that policy.
Unless the parties settle this wrongful termination case it will go to trial.
The case is Michael v. Precision Reliance Group, LLC, 2011 IL App 100089 (5th Dist.
Posted: July 28th, 2011 | Author: The Illinois Injured Worker | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: discharge, fired for filing a work comp claim, Illinois Workers' Compensation
It is essential for an injured worker in Illinois to know that the Workers’ Compensation Act prohibits the employer from threatening, harassing or terminating an employee for filing a claim. I am frequently asked the question by a prospective client, “Can I be fired for filing this claim?” My answer is always the same, there is a clear prohibition against the employer terminating an injured worker for filing a claim. Of course, people and companies violate the law all the time, so is this prohibition in the Workers’ Compensation statute a real deterrent to an employer? The short answer is, yes, absolutely. The Illinois Supreme Court created the right to money damages against an employer when the injured worker can prove that he/she was fired as a consequence of filing a workers’ compensation claim. This is a claim which is filed in a Circuit Court, where a jury establishes the amount of money damages. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act does permit the Workers’ Compensation Commission to hear this type of case so that is why a jury trial can take place. Believe me when I tell you that jurors are outraged when an employer fires an individual for filing a work injury claim. In a recent jury trial case in Marion County, Illinois a jury awarded $4.2 Million dollars in damages to a man who was terminated for filing a workers’ compenation claim. Of this amount, $3.6 million was awarded for punitive damages. An award of punitive damages is a measure of the outrage the jury had at the total disregard of the law demonstrated by this employer. You can read more about the case at: http://thesouthern.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_afad61d0-b8d5-11e0-87e6-001cc4c03286.html. As always, if you have any questions about workers’ compensation, please look at our website: www.kfeej.com or telephone us @ 312-263-6330 or 1-800-444-1525.