I love Target. While I’ve been involved in probably over 100 workers’ compensation claims against them, I don’t view Target like I do Walmart. In general, they seem to treat their employees better, and it’s an enjoyable shopping experience. That said, I also love bringing cases against them.
Target might be a great store, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t fight work comp claims that shouldn’t be fought. It’s not a corporate thing, it’s a work comp thing. They outsource the handling of their claims to Sedgwick, and Sedgwick is the one, in my opinion, that makes things difficult.
For example, a little over two years ago, a Target cashier in Illinois was walking into work on a snowy day. As she entered the store, she slipped and fell on the linoleum flooring. The snow from people’s shoes and shopping carts had melted inside the store. Although she hadn’t punched in yet, she was walking to the time clock when this happened. This all occurred about five minutes before her shift was scheduled to start and she entered through the only available entrance.
Somehow Target and Sedgwick denied her benefits and forced her to arbitration. She won easily at trial and on appeal. The Arbitrator found that she showed up at a reasonable time, and her injury was due to a risk associated with her employment. It’s expected that an employee will walk as she did toward their time card machine. And Illinois law is very clear that you don’t have to be officially on the clock to have a workers comp claim. Target can reasonably expect that a worker would take this path, and they certainly benefit from it.
Sedgwick tried to argue that the floor wasn’t wet, but that just defies common sense. Anyone who’s lived in Chicago for any period of time knows that in the winter these stores drag in snow and slush from the outside, making the floors slippery. Even with mats being put down, you can’t make a store completely safe. A simple check of the weather from the accident date should have shown that this worker was telling the truth, and there should have been no delay in her benefits.
The good news is that she was able to get a hearing relatively quickly. The bad news is that she had to deal with this nonsense. It just goes to show that even though Target generally treats their employees better than Walmart, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to look out for nonsense when it comes to work injury cases.
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