Most Illinois employers aren’t terrible people. They carry Illinois workers compensation insurance and try to create a safe environment for their employees. They know that accidents can happen, take care of their workers, and want them to get better.
Unfortunately, some employers are scumbags and those are the ones that are often worth writing blog posts about. Take the case of a recent caller.
He was injured working at a small, rural company. While they aren’t the only bad companies out there, I do find that a lot of the people who think work comp laws don’t apply to them tend to be at small companies.
In this case, the worker was asked to work a twelve-hour day doing a lot of heavy lifting. With about an hour left in the shift, he felt a sharp pain in his back. He told his boss right away who yelled at him, “Don’t be a pussy,” and made him feel he had to finish the job. He did, went home, popped a bunch of Advil, and went to bed. The next day he couldn’t get out of bed and had shooting pains down his leg.
He called his boss, told him he was going to the hospital, and asked for his work comp info. The boss told him he was fired and that he should use unemployment to get paid while he couldn’t work. In an act of kindness, he said he’d take him back when he was better.
The call to my office was to ask if he should take his boss’s advice. The answer was a big, fat, NO!!!!
If he did this, he could be committing a felony. Filing for unemployment to get compensated for when you were injured at work is illegal. The only way he’d get benefits would be if he lied on his application form. And of course, if he did that he’d likely also lose his chance of ever bringing a work comp case.
These types of calls don’t happen every day, but sadly I do hear a version of something like this once a week. My suggestions:
1. Remember that you have to look out for yourself.
2. Don’t take legal advice from your employer or insurance company.
3. Most importantly, in every work comp case in Illinois you need to be honest. Tell the truth to your doctor. Tell the truth to your employer. Tell the truth on any form you fill out. People that lie often get caught and it causes many other problems.
It’s a tough situation that this employer put this guy in. These cases really piss me off. The good news is that the law is on the side of honest injured workers in Illinois. If you have questions or want to talk with a lawyer for free, call us any time.