New Legislation Regarding the Temporary Work Industry in Massachusetts

Knee InjuryThis article states that New Hampshire is considering adopting legislation that would provide greater regulation for the temporary work industry. The bill that New Hampshire is considering would be modeled after Massachusetts law.

Exploiting Vulnerable Workers

The article mentions a worker who injured his knee while unloading a truck. However, when he mentioned that he injured himself at work, the company stated that he had been drunk while working and that he would no longer be able to work with them. When the worker appealed this decision, the company reinstated him and allowed him to continue to work. However, the company allegedly did not refer him to workers’ compensation or compensate him for the day that he injured himself. Highlighting the vulnerability of his job status, the worker additionally refused to identify himself because he feared that he would lose his job.

Who is protected in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, the law provides that almost all workers are covered by workers’ compensation. Workers, for claims regarding compensation, include volunteers and those who work for no money, provided that the injury occurred at work. There is no hourly requirement to be able to file a claim. If you are injured while working, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company is obligated to pay. And regardless of one’s citizenship status, a person is eligible for worker’s compensation. The state of Massachusetts provides information about workers’ compensation in English and Spanish.

Why the necessity for strong protections?

This article shows why it may be necessary to promulgate a law with stronger protections for temporary workers. While one cannot ascertain whether or not the worker had a valid claim, what seems obvious is that a company could utilize such a tactic to dissuade people from pursuing workers’ compensation claims. It would not be difficult to believe that a company, not wanting to pay workers’ compensation, would threaten termination in a poor economic climate to dissuade a worker from obtaining justly sought benefits.

What are your rights?

While the event described in the article occurred in New Hampshire, had it taken place in Massachusetts, it would have been a violation of state law. In Massachusetts, it is illegal for an employer to fire you or discriminate against you because you decided to file a claim for workers’ compensation.

Additionally, a person has the right to hire a doctor for treatment for a work injury. When one visits the doctor, he or she should specify extensively all the injuries that occurred. While the employer has the right to have a doctor examine an employee, the employee does not have to agree to that doctor for his or her treatment.

The most important message that one should receive from the article is that if you are not sure whether you should receive compensation for an incident at work, it is in your interest to hire a lawyer that can assist you in your potential claim. John J. Sheehan has a wealth of experience in workers’ compensation. If you live in Massachusetts or live in New Hampshire or Rhode Island and work in Massachusetts, contact John J. Sheehan for legal assistance.

Photo Credit: akeg via Compfight cc

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