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Don't Worry..It Is Only A Scratch

Four days ago, Andy, one of your employees, fell down the stairs. You asked Andy if he wanted to file a workers' compensation claim, but he refused. Andy said that he was fine and did not need to see a doctor. Andy worked the remainder of his shift without further incident and went home. Andy then called in sick the next three days. 


This morning, Andy comes to work on crutches and wearing a neck brace. Andy tells you that, after work, his neck was bothering him, so he went to Urgent Care for treatment. Andy hands you a doctor's note, which excuses him from work for the past three days and places him on light duty for the rest of the week - a request that is granted.  

You again ask Andy if he wants to file a workers' compensation claim. Once again, Andy refuses, saying that his problems are resolved and he does not want to be a bother. 

How should you handle this issue?
  1. All injuries beyond first aid should be reported to your workers' compensation carrier immediately, regardless of what Andy has requested.
  2. Andy has the right to refuse to file a claim. You have fulfilled your obligation under the law by asking him if he would like to file a claim and need to take no further action.
  3. You can ask Andy to sign a waiver. Once signed, Andy cannot later file a workers' compensation claim for this injury.
  4. Andy should be terminated because he did not report his injury to you immediately.
Scroll down to find the answer.
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The Answer is A!

Workers' compensation is governed at the state level. Most states require employers to report any employee injury that occurs in the workplace beyond general first aid. Failure to do so may result in fines and penalties.

Injuries resulting in three days of missed work and medical attention should be reported by the employer to the carrier. Employers should have a policy requiring employees to report injuries, no matter how slight, immediately to a member of management. However, once an employer is aware of a possible injury, it is the employer's responsibility to report it to the carrier immediately. payments are paid on a quarterly or more frequent basis.

If the employee refuses to file a claim, you should contact your workers' compensation carrier. Once contacted, the workers' compensation carrier will open a claim on the employee's behalf and  attempt to work with the employee throughout the remainder of the claims process. The workers' compensation claims adjuster will handle any issues that arise from an employee refusing to cooperate.

Why should employers proactively report an injury?
  1. It is an employer's legal obligation.
  2. Injuries can be exacerbated if medical attention is not provided at the onset, resulting in a  worsened injury and a more expensive claim.
  3. The sooner the carrier is involved, the easier it is to control the costs of the injury.
  4. It eliminates an employee's claim that the employer discouraged him from filing a workers'  compensation claim.
Keep in mind, employers cannot determine if an injury is accepted, denied, or whether the injury is fraudulent. This determination must be made by the workers' compensation claims adjuster to avoid litigation.

Never Say This to Your Pregnant Employee...

Overview of your employees is pregnant! While you are fully prepared to provide reasonable accommodation throughout this employee's pregnancy, you've noticed that the employee's baby bump is in- terfering with her ability to easily perform aspects of her job. Yet, the employee has not requested any type of accommodation. Read ahead to learn how one employer (mis)handled this delicate situation.

The Situation
Daisy, an employee at T&B Pizza, is 7 months pregnant. Despite the physical changes due to her pregnancy, she has kept up with her work schedule and has continued to perform the essential functions of her position.

Her manager, Pete, recently noticed that Daisy is having difficulty reaching items that are stored in a cabinet that is set further back in the prep area. Rather than ask for assistance, Daisy has started using a step stool to help her access the hard-to-reach items.

One day, Pete becomes concerned after seeing Daisy precariously balancing herself on the stool while reaching for a pizza pan. He is afraid that Daisy will lose her balance on the step stool and fall - potentially harming both Daisy and her unborn child. When Daisy gets down from the stool, Pete asks Daisy, "Don't you think your belly is getting too big to continue working? You should start thinking about taking a leave of absence."

Daisy doesn't respond and Pete assumes that she will take his recommendation to heart. To prepare for what he believes will be Daisy's impending leave request, Pete calls an HR Professional to ask for guidance about providing an employee with pregnancy leave.

During the conversation, Pete mentions the statement he made to Daisy. The HR Professional tells Pete that, despite his concern for Daisy's wellbeing, if she (or her health care provider) is not requesting a leave of absence, he cannot require her to go out on pregnancy leave before she is ready.

After speaking with the HR Professional, Pete calls Daisy into his office and apologizes for making his earlier statement. He reassures Daisy that he is happy with her performance and is willing to make reasonable accommodations for her to continue working during her pregnancy.

In this situation, the manager inadvertently made a comment that is technically unlawful. When a mistake like this occurs, it is important to take immediate steps to rectify the situation with the employee. Ensure that the employee understands that the company will not discriminate against, or treat the employee differently, because she is pregnant. 

Win-Win: How a Call to an Employee Complaint Hotline Benefitted Both Employee AND Employer 


Employees are not always comfortable addressing their job-related concerns with supervisors or managers. As a result, employers are often blindsided by problems in the workplace. To combat this problem, employers are forced to think of creative ways to keep the lines of communication open with employees. One simple solution - consider implementing an employee complaint hotline! Read ahead to learn how an employee complaint hotline helped one employer.

The Situation
Recently, Dylan, the owner of Big D's Donuts, installed a new employee time keeping system.

Since that time, several employees noticed that their paychecks were smaller than normal. Upon reviewing their paycheck stubs, many employees realized that they were not getting paid for the overtime they were working. While this was a problem, the employees were afraid to say anything because they were afraid of losing their jobs.

One day, while in the employee breakroom, Sally noticed a poster for an Employee Complaint Hotline. The poster said that the hotline could be used to report any HR concerns to a third party. Hoping to resolve the issue without jeopardizing her job, Sally called the Hotline and reported her complaint to Terry, the HR Professional who handled the call.

Following her conversation with Sally, Terry called Dylan to advise him of Sally's complaint. Dylan was alarmed and had no idea that there might be a problem with his new timekeeping system. Terry advised Dylan to review Sally's time records and those of other employees to determine if Sally's complaint was correct.

Dylan reviewed the time cards of all of his employees and he discovered that the new time keeping system was not accounting for overtime correctly. After this discovery, Dylan called Terry back for guidance on how to proceed. 

Terry recommended that Dylan take the following action:
  • Call the company that installed the time clock system and request that they program the timeclock to capture overtime correctly.
  • Audit all time cards since the time clock was installed to determine all overtime hours owed to the employees.
  • Notify all employees of the time keeping error and reassure them that the matter is being addressed and they would be paid all compensation they are due as soon as the audit is complete.
Dylan followed Terry's recommendations and within the week paid his employees all of the overtime they were owed. In the end, Dylan was glad he decided to post the Employee Complaint Hotline information for his employees. Without this information being readily available, Sally may not have addressed the paycheck issue so quickly and it might have been months (or even years) before Dylan realized that there was a problem. In essence, Sally's use of the Employee Complaint Hotline likely saved Big D's Donuts from facing a much larger wage and hour claim down the road.

This story is one of many examples of how an Employee Complaint Hotline saved an employer from a potentially devastating claim. 

We are very excited to announce some new changes to our benefits line-up.

New Medical Plans:
REI has a new group medical plan with multiple options ranging from different deductibles and co-pays.  We have two MEC plans to choose from as well. Whether it is our medical plan or one that you bring with you, we can administer your plan with your broker or our plan.  All of our plans are accompanied by the following value added benefits:
  • Healthy Rewards Wellness program and incentives 
  • 100% DirectHealth Lab benefits through LabCorp
  • 100% benefits for diabetic supplies
  • 24/7/365 telemed consultants
  • Access to patient care coordination
  • Access to employer sponsored life rewards plus incentive program
New Dental:  We have enhanced benefits at no change in premiums with MetLife.  We have increased the maximum paid under the plan to accommodate your growing needs.

New Vision:  VSP is the largest provider of vision services. With a much stronger network, increased benefits and no change in premiums!
The IRS announced significant updates to the filing guidelines for ACA forms:
  • Extend the deadline for furnishing employees with 1095-B or 1095-C forms from January 31, 2017 to March 2, 2017.
  • Extend the good faith compliance standard used during 2015. Incomplete or inaccurate forms will not be subject to a penalty, so long as they were filed on time and the filer was operating in good faith.
  • The employer filing deadline remains the same. The deadline is still February 28 (paper) and March 31 (electronic).
With the good faith compliance standard extended, it's crucial to distribute and file your forms on time.  We can help!

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