It is no secret that for most companies, especially publicly-traded ones, protecting the bottom line is their top priority. This means finding ways to cut costs while still delivering high-quality products and services to their customers. While there are numerous ways to cut costs, such as finding cheaper suppliers, negotiating with vendors, and leveraging technology, just to name a few, one unfortunate way that many companies are seeking to improve their profit margins is by reducing the amount they pay to their injured employees. One of the companies leading this charge is Tyson Foods.
How Workers’ Compensation is Supposed to Protect Both Employers and Employees
As the Pacific Standard reported in December 2015, Tyson Foods has been employing high-stakes tactics across the country in order to limit its liability under state workers’ compensation programs. Workers’ compensation is, in theory, designed to protect both employers and employees.
By providing no-fault benefits to injured workers (meaning that workers can collect benefits regardless of whether their employer caused their injuries), workers’ compensation makes it easier for employees to pay their bills if a work-related injury prevents them from doing their job. By limiting the no-fault benefits available and preventing employee lawsuits under most circumstances, workers’ compensation also limits employers’ exposure for work-related injuries and deaths. This, in turn, gives employers more money with which to pay their employees and buy insurance to cover workers’ compensation.
However, companies like Tyson Foods have been going to great lengths to try to bend the system in their favor.
How Companies Like Tyson Foods Are Limiting Workers’ Comp Benefits
According to the Pacific Standard, Tyson Foods has been pushing for changes to the workers’ compensation laws in states across the country in order to limit the benefits available to its injured employees. Of course, the changes affect not just Tyson Foods workers, but all workers who suffer work-related injuries. Some of the changes for which Tyson Foods has advocated include
● Giving employers more say over their employees’ medical care
● Raising employees’ burden of proof for establishing that their injuries are work-related
● Limiting the scope of what constitutes a “work-related” activity
One specific change Tyson Foods sought to have passed was to exclude carpal tunnel syndrome from the list of injuries covered by workers’ compensation. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury, also known as a “WEAR and TEAR™” injury, common among workers in the poultry industry.
Tyson Foods has its own nurses, doctors, and adjusters who handle its employees’ claims, and the Pacific Standard reports that it even formed a subsidiary in order to sell its cost-cutting system to other companies.
What to Do if You Have Been Denied Workers’ Compensation
Just because companies are opposed to paying workers’ compensation does not mean that injured employees must give up their legal rights. Workers’ compensation laws in New Jersey and across the country provide benefits, and as an injured worker, you are entitled to full benefits under the law. If your employer has denied your benefits claim or is making it difficult for you to seek the benefits you deserve, we urge you to contact us to discuss your case.
Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo | A New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law Firm
The attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo have decades of experience representing injured New Jersey workers. If you suffered a work-related injury, we will fight to win the benefits you deserve. To get help with your workers’ compensation claim, please contact us today.