Workers in Wisconsin should have the confidence that comes from knowing that their employer has adequate workers’ compensation insurance in case something goes wrong on the job. Whether a person develops an occupational illness, struggles to continue working because of a repetitive stress injury or develops a traumatic injury from an accident on the job, that worker should have the protection that comes from workers’ compensation insurance.
Typically, Wisconsin workers’ compensation will cover both medical expenses and lost wages. Unfortunately, given that it is an expense, there are companies that will do just about anything to avoid workers’ compensation costs. The following are three ways in which an employer could unfairly attempt to deny you your rightful benefits.
Wrongly classifying you as a contractor instead of an employee
There are multiple financial incentives for companies to intentionally misclassify their staff as contractors rather than employees. They get to avoid the cost of employment taxes while simultaneously removing the requirement to provide workers’ compensation coverage.
However, if your employer relies on you to perform tasks that are part of their daily workflow, if they provide you with equipment, micromanage your work or otherwise treat you like an employee, you may be misclassified and have the rights of an employee.
Refusing to documents incidents that happened at work
Sometimes, company owners or shift managers don’t want to blemish their record with an accident. They may pressure staff members to not fill out an incident report or otherwise do whatever they can to avoid creating a formal record of an accident where someone got hurt.
Other times, a manager might coerce a worker into seeing a physician on their own and using their own medical insurance for an injury like carpal tunnel that is clearly the result of their job.
Retaliating against workers to create a culture hostile to their employees
Some companies make it known that they will not abide by staff members standing up for their own rights. If your employer has a history of firing, demoting or otherwise penalizing workers who seek workers’ compensation or similar standard employment benefits and protections, they create a chilling environment in which workers know that if they advocate for themselves, they will lose their source of income.
Any employee unfairly denied workers’ compensation because of unscrupulous actions on the part of their employer may need to look into options for holding their employer accountable.