Workers Find Little Help With Restaurant Injury ClaimsPosted September 28, 2016
There are horror stories of workers injured on the job and these injuries being severely mismanaged, many of them associated with the restaurant industry. In fact, it has become such a problem that KCRW launched an investigative series which examines the systemic issues and failures of this industry when it comes to workers’ compensation and all of the many dangers faced by those who work in kitchens. In general, oversight, prevention, and treatment of these types of injuries are completely lacking, and it’s not only affecting the workers, but the customers as well, as food can easily get contaminated.
For example, take the story of one cook who, when he would cut himself, was told to simply wrap the wound and keep cooking, or take off his uniform before he went to the hospital so that his employer wasn’t associated with the injury. According to statistics gathered in a 2011 survey by the Restaurant Opportunities Center, over 40 percent of people working in restaurant kitchens weren’t trained for the job and experienced both cuts and burns. Close to 60 percent continued to work even though they were sick.
The Law in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, every employee who is injured is covered by our state workers’ compensation laws except for independent contractors and volunteers, who aren’t classified as employees. However, there are other exceptions to coverage, such as:
- Certain agricultural workers;
- Licensed real estate brokers paid on a commission basis;
- Some individuals who work for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services;
- Anyone who works for an employer with fewer than five employees who are related by blood or marriage to the employer;
- Anyone employed by a tax-exempt youth sports league;
- Sole proprietors;
- Members of partnerships;
- Certain parties to franchise agreements;
- Certain members of limited liability companies; and
- Certain stockholders of a corporation.
Even though workers’ compensation insurance is required for most, according to the KCRW series, many restaurants send their employees to cash-only clinics because they do not have workers’ compensation insurance or they want to avoid having a claim filed under the insurance in order to avoid their premiums increasing. Thus, the legal requirement clearly doesn’t guarantee compliance: there are citations every year for failing to provide workers’ compensation coverage. And other basic legal requirements put in place to protect workers in general—such as needing to have a first aid kit on hand and providing bathroom breaks—often aren’t even complied with, according to the series.
Experienced Injury Claim Attorneys
If you’ve been injured on the job, schedule a free consultation online or call The Bennett Law Firm at 405.272.0303 to discuss your legal options with an experienced lawyer today. You will pay nothing unless you recover damages for your claim. We look forward to hearing from you.