Inside Corporate America’s Campaign to Ditch Workers’ Comp
October 18, 2015 1:53 PM Subscribe
One Texas lawyer is helping companies opt out of workers’ compensation and write their own rules. What does it mean for injured workers?
From the article:
From the article:
Many of the nation’s biggest retail, trucking, health care and food companies have already opted out in Texas, where Minick pioneered the concept as a young lawyer. Oklahoma recently passed a law co-written by Minick allowing companies to opt out there. Tennessee and South Carolina are seriously considering similar measures. And with a coalition led by executives from Walmart, Nordstrom and Lowe’s, Minick has launched a campaign to get laws passed in as many as a dozen states within the next decade.
But as Minick’s opt-out movement marches across the country, there has been little scrutiny of what it means for workers.
ProPublica and NPR obtained the injury benefit plans of nearly 120 companies who have opted out in Texas or Oklahoma — many of them written by Minick’s firm — to conduct the first independent analysis of how these plans compare to state workers’ comp.
The investigation found the plans almost universally have lower benefits, more restrictions and virtually no independent oversight.
Already in Texas, plans written by Minick’s firm allow for a hodgepodge of provisions that are far different from workers’ comp. They’re why McDonald’s doesn’t cover carpal tunnel syndrome and why Brookdale Senior Living, the nation’s largest chain of assisted living facilities, doesn’t cover most bacterial infections. Why Taco Bell can accompany injured workers to doctors’ appointments and Sears can deny benefits if workers don’t report injuries by the end of their shifts.
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