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Commercial Litigation

Worker's Compensation
Federal Law

Worker's Compensation

Without a doubt, this can be one of the most frustrating areas of laws for any employer. One of the reasons worker's compensation law is so offensive to some employers is that there is no requirement for any wrongdoing, negligence, or any other type of improper act on the part of the employee to render worker's compensation due to that injured employee.

In fact, all that is necessary for an employee to collect worker's compensation benefits is for the employee to be at work and performing some duty in relation to their work and be injured. Even if the employee is at fault and was negligent, and perhaps should have been more careful and caused the accident, the worker is still entitled to worker's compensation benefits.

There are many contours and complications in the area of worker's compensation law, and in order to make certain that injured worker's claims are handled properly, you should make an appointment for a free consultation.

Most importantly, Louisiana law requires that employers have worker's compensation insurance at all times on their employees. There are circumstances under which an employer himself may opt out from worker's compensation insurance, but you should seek the advice of an attorney before making any decisions not to carry worker's compensation insurance on yourself. If one of your employees is injured and you do not have worker's compensation insurance in place, it can result in penalties and additional fees being assessed against the employer for not carrying worker's compensation insurance.

At a minimum, employers should be aware of how to defend themselves from frivolous claims, make certain that insurance is in place, and do everything possible to minimize the impact upon the employer and his insurance premiums if in fact an injury does occur.

If you feel that a fraudulent claim is being made against you, or a claim is being made against you and you do not have insurance, call for a free consultation.

Federal Law

American Disabilities Act "ADA

Aside from worker's compensation issues, employers are also faced with a myriad of various federal laws and regulations that impact an employer's ability to make certain decisions. The American Disabilities Act "ADA" mandates that injured and disabled employees must be allowed to keep their jobs despite their disability, if in fact the employer can make reasonable accommodations so that the injured worker can continue to perform the same job. Of course, this is a very complicated area of the law, but employers should be aware of the fact that they simply cannot fire an employee because he has been injured, but rather must make accommodations to see whether or not adjustments can be made in the tools or working conditions of the injured employee such that the employee can continue to work.

Avoiding Discrimination Claims

Furthermore, there are discrimination claims that can be alleged by "protected classes" of persons that cannot be fired for reasons that would be discriminatory in violation of Federal Law. Such issues include race discrimination, religion discrimination, age discrimination, sexual discrimination, and numerous other protected classes of persons. Therefore, before deciding to terminate any employee, an employer should check with an attorney, explain all of the facts and circumstances regarding the necessity to terminate the employee and make certain that no Federal or State Laws will be violated as a result of the employee's termination.

Payment of Wages to Terminated Employees

Also, employers must be careful to tender outstanding wages due employees when the employee resigns or is fired. Current law requires an employee be paid within 15 days, or else the employer can be subjected to severe penalties such as three times the wages due, 90 days of wages, attorney's fees, and other fees and costs if in fact the employee is not paid timely. Thus, it is very important to pay employees as soon as possible and within the parameters set by State and Federal Law so as not to be discriminatory against the employee in the firing process.

Other Concerns

Federal Law imposes many responsibilities on employers and even a brief discussion general overview would be far beyond the scope of anything that could be presented here. An employer should have an ongoing relationship with an attorney so as to be able to obtain advice before taking action.

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