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Workers Compensation & System Abuse
April 1, 2007
1:54 pm
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genuinerisk
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Is anyone familiar with workers comp? I know it varies by state, yet I fear being terminated after filing a WCC.

April 1, 2007
3:24 pm
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chelonia mydas
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Genuinerisk,

Since I don't know where you are, I am assuming you are someplace in the US. If you are in another country, look on google to see if there is a website for the workers compensation for your country.

Here is a link to a US government website that lists the WC office for each state.
http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/co.....wcp/wc.htm

If you are in the US they cannot out right fire you for filing workers compensation. This is something in place to protect workers who are injured while working. It is completely separate from any disciplinary action. Now some people have found ways around the system... but if you feel that your employer may be trying to fire you because you filed a WCC then seek the help of a lawyer.

If your disability leaves you unable to perform your work duties, then they might be able to justify your dismissal, but if that is the case, you will want to seek the help of a lawyer who specializes in such cases to help you with those details.

So sorry you are having to go through this.

Sending healing energy your way,
Chelonia

April 1, 2007
5:27 pm
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Robert123
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You probably wouldn't be fired for filing a wcc especially if it was legitimate. I had an employee file on me after he claimed he blew his knee out. My rate would not have gone up any if I had been with this particular company a little longer, but it did go up for a while...it was manageable. Workers comp protects the employer as well as the employee.

April 1, 2007
5:28 pm
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genuinerisk
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Thank you, below is what basically happened:

On 3/28 & 3/29 I carried enough files to accomodate 14 banker boxes. I retrieved the files from the fille room which is about 100 feet from my desk. I inventoried the files and placed them w/in 14 boxes. I also labeled new files and placed them in the file room. I wore small kitten heels while doing this and felt just fine on 3/28 and the morning of 3/29. Yet about mid-afternoon on 3/29 my left foot began to hurt and it was difficult to walk. The attorney I work for asked what was wrong, I informed my foot hurt and that I've been moving the files requested be sent off-site in order to make room for our new files. The attorney was preparing for a hearing to begin the next day and asked me to copy several things at several different times which meant several trips to the file room where the copier is located. I also coordinated some of the copying and 3-hole punching with our copier center located one floor below. Yet, the attorney wanted things done "NOW" and could not always wait for the copier center. Instead of gathing everying at once, the attorney would ask me to copy 2 or 3 pages, and while in the file room copying, would be calling my extension to copy more and asking where I am! This attorney has often interupted my lunch to accomodate eithr a personal or work related issue. Like, hair appointment, or 3-hole punch something NOW! Or, to stop eating and go get the attorney's lunch b/c the attorney has to leave early for golf. This is how I'm informed of calendar changes. There have been times this attorney has gone on vacation and not informed me, I am the last to know. This attorney has treated the 4 previous legal assistants in the same manner. Even the spouse phones to insist assistance, usually with parking tickets.

On 3/30 I performed very little physical activity, also the attorney I work for was at a hearing, thus I rested my foot hoping it would feel better. I'm a veteran and attend night school at the local base. The evening of 3/30 I attended class and my left foot was throbbing. As a prior soldier (not retired, just 2 enlistments) I consider myself tough. So, I sat through class and endured.

On Friday, 3/31 I notified HR via email. The HR manual says to report w/in 24 hours. Yet, it had nearly been 36 hours when I reported.

Now, we have 2 push carts on our floor. Two of which are reserved and full of files. The last time I asked to borrow one, it took 3 days for the secretary to empty. The other cart has remained full for 6+ months as it belongs to another attorney and his secretary is 70 years old. I've reported the elder lady several times to HR for being late, constant smoke breaks, threats, and refusing to answer phones (she will often forward them and then shop on the internet). The last time I reported her activities for not answering calls from her clients was 3/26. Thus, I'm certain HR thinks I'm a nuisance.

On 3/31 HR informed me via email (I have the metadata) that I could also use the courier trucks (which are too cumbersome and require more bending) or the records car (which had been signed out).

On 3/31 I made an appointment for 2:45 @ with a local clinic approved by the provider. I waited nearly 2 hours to see the doctor b/c the receptionist did not know how to process a WCC. Thus, after seeing doctor and 3 X-rays, it was determined that I had a strain and was given a Return to Work Form (RTWF) with limitations, yet no reference to light duty. The Form also states to return on 4/2/07 for a reevaluation. The insurance company only approved the 3/30 and any future visits would require additional authorization. The insurance company said they needed something in writing from the doctor indicating my diagnoses and treatment and it had to come directly from the doctor, via fax is okay and I provided the toll free fax to the nurse. The nurse said that the RTWF is all they need. Yet, the insurance company said they wanted more and since they were paying the clinic for this service, it is the clinic's responsibility to fax the information, not I. I was on the phone with the insurance company and HR until 6:30 PM. I will need to call the insurance company on 4/2 to determine what the issue is and whether or not I may see the doctor again. (The nurse was very rude and verbally abusive, I left the clinic at 5:30 in tears). Also, the doctor asked what kind of shoes I was wearing, I was wearing 1.5 inch kitten heals, I wear them often and have never had a problem b/4. The file room isles are tight, I cannot stretch out my arms and a table extends from one set of rows, leaving very little room to enter/exit two of the horse-shoe style shelving.

I had already scheduled vacation for 4/2 and planned to drive to another state 3/31 and 4/1 for my nieces birthday, bringing along my elderly mother. However, I cancelled. I would only be a burden with all the activities involved.

Now, I'm very worried I will be fired. I don't know the firm's WCC stats. I know that an attorney has often lied to me and thrown large butterfly clips at me to get my attention; rather than calling me on the phone, would scream my name outloud; has me spend several hours monthly looking for lost personal items; has asked me to retrieve documents and instead of handing them to me, throws the files on the floor for me to pick up; I've slipped in that office as it is full of trash, decayed food, etc., and told HR; yet, nothing seems to have been done. This attorney is consistently late (yet a shareholder) and does not inform me of all hearings or pleadings (some of which are e-filed) until after the fact, leaving me in the dark. Also, does not inform me of documents required for a proceeding until the last minute which requires rushing and many trips up/down the hallway. This attorney has exclaimed that I'm single with no children, thus not much responsibility, and can work as needed. I'm also a veteran with GI Bill education benefits.

I'm afraid they will fire me for having filed the WCC, not citing such, but will nit pick and find something to simply rid me. Also, the fact that I did not immediatly report.

With all this drama, I've performed quite well and work for 3 attorneys. My peformance has been recorded with outstanding performance reports from one attorney, who prepares them yearly; One has never prepared a performance report, just throws them away; and the other has only prepared one, thrown the others out.

Please excuse my rambling. I'm very upset b/c other coworkers have told me I'll be fired and that having filed a WCC may prevent me from future employment and that I should have tuffed it out.

April 1, 2007
8:25 pm
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chelonia mydas
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Wow,

I am sorry you have endured this. What terrible working conditions. I think it would be good for your mental well being to look for other employment simply because they sound like miserable people to work with.

All that said, if you feel that they will try to fire you for filing, I would seek the advice of a worker's comp atty. Many of them do a free initial visit and they would be able to tell you about your rights as a worker. I would just be sure that the atty you go to doesn't know- or atleast isn't friends with the attys you work with.

Sending comfort and strength your way.

Chelonia

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