Worker's Compensation and Discrimination in Illinois

J F Shaw
December 27, 2011 — 1,640 views  
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There was a recent annual meeting for worker's compensation specialists in the city of Bloomington, Indiana. The annual meeting was held by a lawyer's trade group, the Indiana Trial Lawyer's Association. No doubt, many here were probably expressing concern for recent developments in the legal code. Illinois, the state next door had just revamped and reformed it's worker's compensation laws. The Illinois legislature recently tried to revamp and recode the legal code system in 2011.

One of the most interesting increases of incidents reported are due to discrimination charges, which have been rising disproportionately since 2008. The rate of filings stayed roughly constant for 10 years, between the decades after 1997. This has led to some serious economic repercussions that have caught the attention of the State Legislature. According to an article published in the Daily Herald on September 12, 2011, Illinois's worker's compensation costs to employers are ballooning, and the current average is around 2.75% of every 100 dollars on payroll.

Discrimination charges are filed with the government office called the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is in charge looking at cases and presenting awards and fines. In the United States, worker's compensation covers the costs of discrimination charges, damages and awards, as well as certain litigation issues. Hence, as the rate of discrimination charges has been increasing during the 2007-2009 recession in Indiana State, costs have been offset to employers and labor. In fact, many of the Unions and industry leaders believe that this system in Illinois is running at exceptional cost. Relative to other states with the same standards of living, employers have to pocket much more expenses. This lead the legislature to enact a new set of laws, which are designed to reduce the amount of expenses paid out by the worker's compensation system in Illinois. It will be interesting to see how the future developments will modify the costs of carrying compensation for employers in Illinois.

Worker's compensation differs from every state, and its means of governance and regulation are different as well. This is because while the US Congress enacted a Federal mandate to provide worker's compensation laws, it allowed each of the 50 state governments to actually govern the policy regarding the setup, execution, and delivery of worker's compensation. Hence, each jurisdiction now has different legal policies, and court cases dictate how rulings are carried out. Hence, it can be quite difficult to follow up on all the differences and changes to legal codes. However, trends in one state can certainly influence the future of other states, as lawyers try to litigate and change policy in the courts to fit their bill.

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Note: as a disclaimer, we are neither a legal expert, nor do we claim accuracy for this general article. We are not responsible for your reliance on our information, so please seek adequate counsel for correct information and latest updates to the legal code.

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J F Shaw