Last week Butterball announced that it was laying off around 600 workers at its Gusto meatpacking plant in Montgomery, Illinois. Apparently they are going to stop making the pork products that are manufactured there.
If you work at Gusto or any place else that is closing or has layoffs, there are some things to know. First off, you have my sympathy. That’s going to be a tough time for those workers.
Second, if you’ve been toughing it out through what is possibly a work related injury such as carpal tunnel from repetitive work on the line or a back injury, you need to seek medical treatment for that problem before you stop working. You could do it after you leave the job, but that would create a defense to your case, namely that you weren’t really hurt at work because your need for medical care didn’t happen until you stopped working.
I’m not, of course, saying go to the doctor just to have a case. What I am saying is that we see hundreds of people every year who decline medical care because they just want to focus on working and hope that their pain will go away with time or pain meds.
If you are injured and under a doctor’s care, you don’t lose your benefits because they’ve laid you off. In fact, if you have any restrictions, they have to pay you work comp benefits until you have no restrictions at all.
According to the article, they are going to offer their employees the opportunity to transition to plants in other states. You don’t have to do that and while normally turning down a job could cause you to lose your work comp benefits, that’s not true when you are being asked to uproot your life and move out of state.
Finally, if you were physically in Illinois when hired, if you do transfer and get hurt in your new state on the job, you can file a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois. That’s not a common situation, but something to keep in the back of your mind if you do get hurt. As long as there isn’t a break in employment you can bring your case here.
Any questions, let us know. All calls are free and confidential.