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Workers’ Compensation

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Work-From-Home and Workers’ Compensation: Are You Eligible?

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Workers Compensation Lawyer

Accidents can happen anywhere. Nowadays, more people are working from home than ever before. Whether you are a seasoned work-from-home employee or if this is new territory for you, it is important to recognize that workplace injuries can happen when you’re at home also.

If you’re injured while performing work-related tasks at home, you may still be entitled to compensation, as a workers compensation lawyer, like from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, can explain to you.

Workers’ Compensation Eligibility

When it comes to workers’ compensation eligibility, the main qualifier is that you are an employee. Contract workers and those who are self-employed generally do not have workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you work as an employee, most employers are required to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits.

To be eligible for workers’ compensation, you have to have a work-related injury or illness. For instance, if you’re lifting boxes for work but tear a rotator cuff or if you fall from a piece of equipment at a construction site, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation for your injuries.

Accidents that occur on your way to and from work, however, don’t count. If you leave the office for lunch and get into an accident, you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you were on a business lunch for your employer, however, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.

Work-From-Home Employee Eligibility

Since you’re at home, you may be uncertain of your benefits. Your benefits do not change when you work at home. For instance, if you are moving boxes of files to your desk and trip, injuring your ankle, you may still be qualified for workers’ compensation. Likewise, if you develop a chronic condition, such as carpal tunnel, you may be eligible for benefits.

If you suffer an injury at work, regardless of whether you are in the office or at home, file a claim as soon as possible. Report the accident to your employer and follow up to ensure that he or she filed a workers’ compensation claim. A workers’ compensation claim can cover a percentage of your lost wages and your medical bills.

If you work from home, your workers’ compensation case may be more complex than it would be if you were on company property. If you’re unsure about whether you have a claim, you can set up a meeting with a workers’ compensation attorney. He or she can lead you through the steps of filing a claim and can help you determine whether you are entitled to compensation.

Are You Eligible for Workers Compensation?

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Are You Eligible for Workers Compensation?

Workers compensation is an insurance coverage an employer can buy to pay their employees in case injuries are sustained on the job. If an accident happens and an employee gets injured, their medical expenses, lost wages and leave for disability can all be covered, but there are a few requirements an employee has to meet in order to file a claim. Understanding if and how you qualify for workers compensation is great to know in advance in the event of an accident.

Employer Coverage

Not every state requires employers to have workers compensation insurance. When you begin work at a new job, you should check to make sure they have insurance that covers their employees. Some states only mandate that employers with a certain number of employees need workers comp. If your employer does not have insurance because it isn’t required, you may be in for a lawsuit if you get injured at work.

Employee Status

You must be an employee with a company to be eligible to file a claim with their insurance. Workers in contract positions may not be guaranteed workers compensation rights, even if they are injured at the work site. Laws about what constitutes an official employee vary from state to state, so look into your laws to know if you apply.

Work-Related Injuries

Any injuries that you sustain in a sudden accident or over time that happen because you are working all count towards workers comp. Illnesses are also included if your job exposes you to toxic chemicals. For those who telecommute, injuries that happen away from the workspace qualify too. As long as an employee was carrying out a task that benefited the employer, workers compensation can cover it.

Deadlines

Every state has a statute of limitations telling you the number of days or months you have to report an injury and file a claim. Most require that you report the injury to your employer within a month, though some limit this to just a few days. Always report the injury in writing so there’s physical evidence that you did so. You usually have more time, possibly several years, to file the actual claim. It can be beneficial to wait to file the claim until you know the full extent of your injuries.

An insurance company may try to use any of these qualifications to prevent you from receiving compensation. Contact an attorney, like a workers compensation lawyer from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, if your claim comes to a halt because of them.

What is a hostile work environment?

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Work Injury Lawyer

The phrase “hostile work environment” is something that is commonly used by employees. Perhaps it is overused, and misunderstood. Before you think you need to call a lawyer regarding a hostile work environment, please read on to know more about it and what you should do if you are exposed to this situation.  

What is a Hostile Work Environment?

In general, there are two types of workplace discrimination. The first is when an employer takes an adverse employment action. This action may refer to a demotion, suspension, or firing because of the race, gender, age, views, or other characteristic of an employee. The second type of workplace discrimination is known as a hostile work environment. This occurs when the employee purposely subjects an employee to unlawful harassment because of a characteristic. 

Criteria for a Hostile Work Environment

Not all types of hostile work environments are illegal. In order to pursue any type of claim or litigation for a hostile work environment, you or your lawyer, will need to demonstrate:

  • You are a member of a protected class
  • You were subjected to harassment because of the protected class
  • The harassment affect your employment or work environment

Federal laws recognize the following to be protected classes:

  • Age
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Genetic makeup
  • National origin
  • Race

Your state and local laws may even provide further protections. For example, in Washington DC, an employer cannot discriminate on the basis of personal appearance, family responsibilities, political affiliation, or marital status. 

If you can prove the harassment was based on a characteristic, such as one of the above, or related to your characteristics, you may have a valid claim. More often than not, the connection isn’t obvious. An experienced lawyer will know of many employees who were in a hostile work environment, but could not connect this issue to a certain characteristic that was being harassed. In other words, an employee might claim they were given unreasonable or undesirable duties, yet fail to understand this action was clearly related to the protected characteristic. This is when it can be very useful to have a lawyer by your side. A lawyer can look at your case from “above” and put the pieces together. If you have a case, evidence will need to be presented that shows your employer made negative comments about your protected characteristic or class. 

It is also an issue if the harassment had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with your work environment. However, if the harassment doesn’t affect a term or condition of your employment, you must prove that it had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with your work environment. Examples of harassment that don’t affect terms or conditions of employment may include things like your supervisor:

  • Yelling at you
  • Making negative comments about you to colleagues
  • Ignoring you
  • Excluding you from meetings

Not only do you have to prove that these things actually happened, and that they were related to a protected characteristic, you must also prove that a reasonable person would think they created a hostile work environment.  It’s not enough that you personally found the harassment to be offensive. Generally, this requires that you prove that the harassment was severe and pervasive.

Examples of Harassment in the Workplace

Harassment can take many shapes and forms. In general, the following actions or behaviors are considered to be harassment, and are what can make up a hostile work environment. 

  • Displaying offense items related to a protected class or characteristic (i.e. sexually explicit images, a swastika, etc.)
  • Sexual contact
  • Threats
  • Derogatory comments

Actions or behaviors such as these might not be able to prove a hostile work environment. This is common when the employer takes prompt and effective action to stop the harassment. 

Hostile work environment cases are relatively complicated. You should have a civil rights lawyer review your case to determine your best options. Call today for more information.