Illinois High Court Upholds Law Protecting Construction Workers

If you have been injured in the course of your employment, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, these benefits often fail to cover the full cost of a work injury. Many injured workers have to file a civil lawsuit in conjunction with a workers’ compensation claim in order to receive the compensation they need and deserve.

The legal issues surrounding a work injury can become extremely complicated. This is often the case if negligence by someone other than the employer caused a work accident or if an injury claim has been denied. Many workers also face the obstacle of having been misclassified as an independent contractor by an employer. Make no mistake: misclassifying employees is illegal, but it happens all too often.

If your employer has wrongly classified you as an independent contractor, you may not get the workers’ compensation pay, unemployment benefits or overtime earnings that you deserve.

In Illinois, the Employment Classification Act took effect in 2008. The law is particularly geared toward protecting construction workers from being misclassified as independent contractors.

In the years since the law was first implemented, the Illinois Department of Labor has investigated 111 cases, resulting in the state’s collecting more than $314,000 in penalties.

One employer, a roofing contractor, challenged the constitutionality of the law. The case rose to the Illinois Supreme Court which recently ruled against the contractor and upheld the legislation. The director of the state labor department called the decision “a victory for Illinois workers and taxpayers.”

In addition to ensuring that your employment status is properly classified, another important step after a work-related accident is to obtain an accurate assessment of the full cost of the injury. On top of medical bills and lost wages, the cost may include the task of getting your mind and body back to a place where you and your family can enjoy life again.

Source: WorkersCompensation.com, “State Issues Statement on Illinois Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Constitutionality of Employment Classification Act,” Feb. 28, 2014

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