Author Archives: Jon Rehm

Equifax TALX dirty on unemployment benefits

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Equifax’s handling of unemployment claims is a scandal too.

According to USA Today, thanks to a data breach that effected 143 million Americans, credit reporting company Equifax is the most hated corporation in America.

But if you think the data breach was bad, just wait until you hear what Equifax does with unemployment claims.

In 2012 Equifax acquired TALX (pronounced “talks”) which helps employers process unemployment claims. In 2010, the New York Times did some good reporting about how TALX helped delay and even deny unemployment benefits to unemployed workers during the height of the Great Recession with questionable appeals and other tactics. At that time, TALX processed unemployment claims for employers comprising up to 30 percent of the workforce.

But even as memories of the Great Recession fade from media consciousness, TALX is still up its old tricks as a division of Equifax. The silver lining to the Equifax/TALX dark cloud for newly unemployed is if an employee appeals a denial of unemployment and Equifax/TALX is handling the claim, there is a good chance that Equifax/TALX will not appear for the unemployment appeal hearing.

The mere fact Equifax/TALX no shows a hearing doesn’t automatically mean an employee wins their unemployment appeal in Nebraska. According to 224 NAC 01 014, an employee appealing a determination still must present evidence as to why the determination was incorrect. This is true whether the employee was alleged to have quit or was fired. The quit/fired distinction is important as the employee has the burden to prove they quit for good cause while the employer has the burden of proof to show the they fired the employee for misconduct in connection with employment.

In my experience with uncontested unemployment appeals, the quit/fired distinction is less important than it is in a contested hearing. The problem for many employees though is that they don’t appeal their determination within the 20 day period allowed under Nebraska law. Additionally some employees could avoid an initial denial of benefits if they would better communicate with the Nebraska Department of Labor about their unemployment claim.

Sometimes newly unemployed workers do things to undermine their right to receive unemployment, but I refuse to scapegoat ordinary people when a corporation like Equifax is actively working against unemployed workers pursing unemployment insurance.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Nebraska, Unemployment and tagged , .

Upon further review: 2nd thoughts on the AMA 2nd

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Back in October, I wrote a critical post about the American Medical Association Guide to Causation of Injuries, 2nd edition. (AMA 2nd for short) But as I revised that post to submit as a more formal article, I realized some of my criticisms of the AMA 2nd were misplaced.

I still believe the AMA 2nd will be used by the defense bar to informally heighten causation standards. Other bloggers have made similar observations about the use of the AMA 2nd.

I still believe the AMA 2nd will be used in lobbying efforts by the insurance industry.

But after reviewing the AMA 2nd in more detail, I think the danger of the AMA 2nd is in the misuse rather than the use of the AMA Guides.

I came to my conclusion after reviewing materials written about the AMA 2nd by J. Mark Melhorn, MD who is one of the primary authors of the AMA 2nd.

The AMA 2nd gives doctors guidance on how to determine causation for a work injury. How the AMA 2nd differs from a traditional differential diagnosis is that the Guides ask doctors to consider statistical studies concerning causation – or epidemiology – as to whether a condition is work-related. I think it is important to note that the AMA 2nd still requires a doctor to consider work duties and other factors specific to the injured worker in determining whether an injury is work-related or not. The authors of the AMA 2nd is clear about the limits of epidemiology. The authors of the AMA Causation Guides are also clear that medical causation and legal causation are different concepts.

Because of how the AMA Guides to Permanent Impairment, 6th edition (AMA 6th) for short, have hurt injured workers, I like most plaintiff’s lawyers have a visceral reaction to anything document that includes “AMA Guide” in the title. But if I am faced with a medical report or doctor stating that my client’s work duties could not have caused his or her injuries citing to the AMA 2nd, the AMA 2nd is likely being misinterpreted.

The term “evidence-based medicine” is another trigger for plaintiff’s attorneys. Evidence-based medicine is synonymous with the use of statistical research. While the defense bar seems to have marshalled the mystique of math to their advantage, a lot of time the numbers can work for employees. Plaintiffs can cite to favorable studies linking repetitive or overuse to musulo-skeletal conditions.

Epidemiology can also be helpful to workers in other ways. In cases litigated under the ADA employers will justify discrimination based on disability under the theory that a disability or medical condition can pose a direct threat to the safety or health of others. Epidemiology can help an employee prove their medical condition poses little or no risk to their safety or the safety of others. In my experience, this is particularly true if this research is shared with specialists who have treated the individual in the past.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in employment law, Nebraska, Workers Compensation and tagged , , .

Violating wage and hour law to get out of paying workers’ compensation

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Violating wage and hour law can be a defense  to paying workers’ compensation – at least in Oregon. That wasn’t the formal holding of a recent Oregon Supreme Court decision involving a truck driver hurt during a driving test, but it’s the practical effect of the decision.

Thomas Robinson summarizes almost every state appellate court decision on workers’ compensation on his blog. A few weeks he posted: “Oregon Supreme Court: Minimum Wage Law May Not Be Used to Determine Claimant’s Status as Worker.”

My first reaction was, “Not a big deal. There are different standards, even within states, about coverage for wage and hour laws and workers’ compensation laws.

But then I read the post.

In the Oregon case, a professional driver was making a delivery for the company as part of a mandatory driving test. The delivery benefited the company, but the test drive was unpaid. The employee injured himself unhooking the trailer. He wasn’t hired by the company.

The question in the Oregon case was whether the worker was an employee for the purposes of workers’ compensation. More precisely the question was whether there was a contract of hire. The trial court decided that since for purposes of Oregon’s minimum wage law the employee should have been paid for the driving test, that there was an implied contract for the purposes of workers compensation. But the Oregon Supreme Court found that didn’t matter for the purposes of workers’ compensation because they couldn’t establish the existence of a contract of hire because they employee knew he was not going to get paid for the driving test, so there was not an expectation of payment, so there was no contract for hire.

This decision is terrible for many reasons. First of all, new employees are more vulnerable to injury. Truckers are also at higher risk for injury. Finally, the decision seems to tell employers that in some circumstances violating wage laws is a defense to a workers’ compensation claim.

Maybe a driving test is a close issue when it comes to wage and hour law. But I represented   one former employee in a wage and hour case who worked for several weeks without being paid. If that person had hurt themselves at work, under the reasoning of the Oregon decision, that person would not have received workers’ compensation benefits.

Employers have a strong economic incentive to violate wage laws for driving tests. In this case the employers’ potential damages under wage and hour law would be minimal – even with liquidated damages and attorney fees. That’s assuming an employee would even bring a charge. A workers’ compensation claim could cost an employer  tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills alone.

As a plaintiff’s lawyer I clearly don’t like the outcome of this decision. But some on the defense/insurance side might say that it is up to the legislative branch to fix a bad decision. Maybe, but  it’s a canon of legal interpretation that statues of covering similar areas need to construed in harmony with each other.

The precise term for this concept is in pari materia. Workers’ compensation and wage laws both regulate working conditions and the relationship between employee and employer. They should be construed together to effectuate the purpose s of each act. Holding that violating wage and hour laws can be a defense to paying workers’ compensation seems to inconsistently interpret those two laws. In pari materia is particularly important when dealing with overlap between workers’ compensation and wage and hour issues as these laws were enacted at different times.

In Nebraska, workers’ compensation laws are supposed to be liberally construed to effectuate the beneficent purpose of the act. Put another way, in a close legal case about coverage of the act, a court should find a worker to be covered. In Nebraska, contractual interpretation is a question of law. So again, in a close legal question about the existence of a contract of hire, the law should be interpreted in favor of the worker in finding the  existence of a contract of hire.

Despite all of the legal thumbs on the scale for an employee on the issue of employment in a workers’ compensation case, I am not sure how a Nebraska court would rule in a case involving an injury during an unpaid driving test. Nebraska courts have previously held than an employee injured during a pre-employment physical examination after a conditional offer of employment was not covered by workers’ compensation. The pre-employment physical exam injury case seemed  to rely on the proposition of law that a clear contractual relationship must exist before the workers’ compensation act is applicable.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Nebraska, Workers Compensation and tagged , , .

Four reasons to question the importance of the USDOL gig economy opinion letter

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United States Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) published an opinion letter that would seem to exempt most so-called “gig economy” companies from federal wage and hour enforcement.

This opinion from the Trump DOL is a reversal of guidance from the Obama DOL stating gig economy workers should considered to be employees.

I think the DOL letter on the gig economy is news worthy, but I question its legal impact on the workplace as a whole. Here is why I would downplay the importance of the opinion letter.

Employees can still bring private causes of action for misclassification — While the letter means that the USDOL won’t initiate enforcement for wage and hour violations against companies, employees can still bring claims. Sure, these claims may get forced into arbitration, but employees through collective action have found ways to work around arbitration clauses.

Appellate courts seem to be giving less deference to agency interpretation – Traditionally courts have granted some deference to the opinions of the executive agencies charged with enforcing the relevant law. The Roberts court seems less inclined to do so. That’s not to say the Roberts court would disagree with classifying gig economy workers as independent contracts on the merits. This just means that federal appellate courts would be less likely to defer to the opinion of the Department of Labor on the issue.

The opinion letter doesn’t apply to state laws – While some states may be persuaded by USDOL opinions on classifying gig economy workers in their wage and hour laws, states are not going to be bound by that opinion — or necessarily even federal statutory law.  States also usually have different standards as to is covered by state workers’ compensation laws, state wage and hour laws and unemployment insurance laws.

For example, the Oregon Supreme Court refused to classify a worker as an employee for the purpose of workers’ compensation even though the employe was classified as employees for the purpose of state wage and hour laws. Ohio also refused to use federal law to classify an employee as part of the workforce in order to make them eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Opinion letters have much less force than a law – Divided government makes it hard to pass controversial legislation, so interests looking to change the law are stuck trying make changes to the law by lobbying the executive agencies that enforce and interpret those laws. But these favorable opinions don’t have the force of law behind them.

Gig economy companies have also been stymied in state legislatures in their efforts to change employee classfication laws.They are now lobbying state agencies in charge of enforcing and administering state employment laws.  

In short, gig economy companies are basically tinkering around employee protection laws at this point. Employee advocates need to be vigilant about the threats to our practices by the gig economy and its high level and bipartisan advocates.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Gig economy, Unemployment, Wage and Hour, Workers Compensation and tagged .

Federal opioid limitations: Good intentions, bad outcomes

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Senate Republicans and Democrats, including Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, have introduced legislation that would limit opioid prescriptions to a set number of days and limit refills. In my view such legislation would negatively impact people who were injured on the job.

I mostly agree with analysis of the legislation that was recently published in Rewire. One size fits all solutions don’t account for the needs of patients with chronic pain. Recently authors of the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for opioid prescriptions have stated that those guidelines have been misused to arbitrarily limit opioid prescriptions for pain management.

As a practical matter,  in my experience prescriptions for opioids are already severely limited for injured workers. Statutory limits on opioids are a good excuse for insurers and self-insureds to wash their hands of future medical care obligations under workers compensation.

Opiod prescription limitations have other effects. Pain doctors who don’t prescribe opioids have more timeh to perfrom procedures. Procedures are more profitable for doctors and increase cost. Primarry care dcotors are often reluctant to prescribe opiods which puts more pressure on pain management doctors. 

There are alternatives to opioids for pain managemen. Stem cell therapy has shown promise in treating pain. But insurers are reluctant to approve those options as that could increase costs for them and leave medical claims under workers’ compensation open.

I believe that opioid prescription monitoring is a better solution to fighting addiction than prescription limits. Those systems can flag potential problem users and get them help. In the case of someone hurt on the job who develops an addiction to pain medication, treatment for that addiction could be covered by workers compensation.

Massachusetts  also developed what amounts to a drug court for opioids within their workers’ compensation court. Problem solving courts, like drug courts, are being increasingly used to help those with substance use issues in the criminal justice system. Massachusetts has adopted the idea in an administrative setting. Federal limits on opioid prescriptions would run counter to innovative programs put in place at a state and local level.

Workers compensation laws developed in the early 20th century when workplace safety laws could only be constitutionally enacted through state police powers under the 10th Amendment. Constitutional law evolved changed during the New Deal era which gave Congress broader regulatory powers over workplace safety and the economy in general.

As a result of the broadening of federal regulatory powers, federal laws limiting opioid prescriptions would likely be constitutional even if they interfered with innovative state programs like Massachusetts workers’ compensation opioid court. While the federal government seems to feel compelled to undercut state workers compensation laws to the detriment of workers, the federal government has given up on oversight of state workers compensation laws that could benefit workers.

The United States Department of Labor monitored state workers compensation laws as result of recommendations from the National Commission on State Workers Compensation Laws. The Commission set up 18 standards for state laws. The DOL stopped overseeing state workers compensation laws in 2004.

In 2015 several Senators and Congressional members, including then and current Presidential candidate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, wrote to the Secretary of Labor about reinstating federal oversight of state workers compensation laws. Reporting by Pro Publica highlighted the shortcomings of state workers’ compensation laws The Department of Labor has made no progress on federal oversight of state workers’ compensation laws since then.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Nebraska, Workers Compensation and tagged , , .

When active shooter drills lead to workplace injuries

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The United States has one of the highest rates of gun violence in the developed world. Unfortunately the workplace is no sanctuary from this violence.

Many workplaces, schools in particular, participate in active shooter drills. But an active shooter drill at a school in Indiana lead to more workplace violence.

As reported in Splinter, teachers in Monticello, Indiana were shot “execution style” with pellet guns by sheriff’s deputies participating in a mass shooter drill. Indiana teachers have helped introduce legislation outlawing that practice.

The practice of shooting people with pellet guns during active shooter drills raises a few legal issues. True to the title of this blog, any physical injury caused by being shot with a pellet gun during a workplace active shooter drill would be covered under workers’ compensation. At least in Nebraska any mental injury stemming from the phyiscal injury should be covered under workers’ compensation as well.

Workers’ compensation pays limited benefits regardless of fault of the employee or employer. Workers’ compensation does not pay for pain and suffering or generally punish employers for bad conduct. But an employee can bring a so-called third-party case if the conduct of someone other than the employer caused the injury. In the Indiana case, it was a county sheriff who shot the teachers with pellet guns.

So, the injured teachers and school workers could bring a case for intentional assault or possibly even a civil rights case against the sheriff’s department. Of course any state actor responsible for an injury has some protections under sovereign immunity for their misconduct. (Sovereign immunity usually is not an issue in workers’ compensation)

Besides being compensated for physical and mental injuries, an employee who is intentionally injured in an active shooter drill may have employment law concerns as well. In my experience, an employer dumb enough to let their employees be assaulted would be bird-brained enough to retaliate against an employee who made a workers’ compensation claim for the injury. That same employer would probably also retaliate against an employee who reported safety concerns to an outside agency like OSHA.

In a public school setting, the school would have some defenses in an employment law case via sovereign immunity. But public schools are generally unionized and unions can be a great resource for employees who are intentionally assaulted on the job.  As mentioned above, the teachers union in Indiana supported legislation to ban the practice of shooting people with pellet guns during active shooter drills. Solid union representation can also help protect employees who speak out against unsafe practices in the workplace.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in civil rights, Nebraska, third party, Workers' Compensation and tagged .

Something old, something new: The 737 Max and the future of workplace safety

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The aftermath of the Ethiopian Air 737 Max crash that killed 157 people

Even as workplace injuries decline, new threats to workplace safety are emerging. The recent crash of an Ethiopian Air 737 Max highlighted on emerging safety risk.

Safety experts attributed the crash to the 737 Max to using modern software to control machinery that was designed as long as 50 years ago. Experts believe that so-called control software works much better when it is designed together with the machinery it is meant to control.

But purchasing new machinery is expensive for business. (Or it cuts into returns for wealthy investors.) Control software is seen as a cost-saving hack.

In the case of the Ethiopian Air crash 157 crew members and passengers lost their lives. Thankfully not all accidents from using 2019 software to control 1969 machinery will be as fatal as the Ethiopian Air crash. But nonetheless accidents from industrial machinery can be gruesome and disabling even if they don’t make international news.

Obviously injuries caused by this slapdash industrial technology would be covered under workers’ compensation laws. But other laws would certainly come into play as well.

Workers who report problems with unsafe technology can bring whistleblower claims. Nebraska has broad protections for employees who report unsafe working conditions.  A complaint about an unsafe working condition can be a report of a work injury in many circumstances. Employees reporting concerns over the design of technology may also have protections under federal law. The United States Senate has opened up an investigation of the 737 Max based on issues raised by a whistleblower. Complaints about machine design could be covered under the various whislteblower laws administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employees bring a claim under the act have an easier evidentiary standard to meet than in other forms of retaliation cases.

Employees injured on the job by defective machinery can also bring a negligence case against the manufacturer of the equipment. This so-called third party case could be worth substantially more than a workers compensation claim. But in a case involving modern software controlling old machinery, there could be a dispute over who was at fault. Producers of older technology may also be able to defend negligence claims based on a statute of repose defense which can limit claims for injuries that have yet to happen.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in employment law, Nebraska, third party, Whistleblower, Workers Compensation and tagged , .

Four rules of thumb about disability accommodation and public employees

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Public employees protesting in Wisconsin in 2011

A few weeks ago Brody posted about the story of a paramedic who ultimately did receive workers’ compensation benefits for a solely mental injury. I agree with Brody that it’s great that first responders can receive workers’ compensation benefits for mental distress on the job not related to a physical injury.

When I read Brody’s post, it reminded me of few informal rules or principles I’ve learned from helping injured workers with their employment law issues for the last 14 years.

Government employers can be difficult. I have a few theories why. First of all, they can invoke sovereign immunity as a defense to any potential unlawful acts. Secondly most of them are self-insured which means any claim made by an employee comes out of tax funds rather than from an insurance policy. Finally since, government employees are entitled to some procedural due process before a termination, government employers go out of their way to build a case for termination. This case building by management can take a terrible mental toll on employees who are being targeted for termination.

Unions are good: Most union contracts require that an employer just cause for termination. That’s usually true for public sector employees as well. But union representation usually means that an employee can receive a substantively fair process when facing difficulties at work. Union officials often know about past practices and can effectively deal with bad behavior by an employer short of attorney involvement. Union contracts often include arbitration rights to dispute a termination, but those rights are often meaningless without an attorney. Unions often foot the bill for an attorney to represent an employee in arbitration.

Disability accommodation is often a bureaucratic nightmare: Under the ADA, employee and employer and supposed to meet in an informal, interactive process to determine how to accommodate disability. What often times happens is that management decides to second guess doctors’ restrictions or ask for endless clarifications. The process becomes adversarial and driven by paperwork.

Mental disabilities aren’t treated the same as physical disabilities: Mental disabilities can present somewhat of a challenge as they are more difficult to measure than physical disabilities. It’s difficult to manage what can’t be measured, but accommodations for a mental injury can be as simple as accommodations for a physical injury if an employee and employer sit down in good faith.

I also believe that employees who suffer from mood disorders are often considered risks for violence if they are having difficulties in the workplace. Studies show the mentally ill are no more likely to be violent than those without a mental health diagnosis. A mentally ill employee who is struggling with job tasks or getting along with co-workers may be not be a qualified employee with disability, however that does not give employers carte blanche to deem an employee with a mental illness to be a threat for workplace violence.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in employment law, Nebraska, Workers Compensation and tagged , , .