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Letter: Who’s at fault?

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Lately, you’ve been hearing a lot about in-sourcing jobs back to Illinois from our political leaders. It doesn’t take a political bureaucrat to see that we are still seeing a large number of individuals either unemployed or underemployed with no real end in sight.

Our political leaders are not seeing the real issue for the failed job-creation programs in Illinois. What’s the real dilemma?

Well, a big reason is the fact that Illinois has the worst workers’ compensation laws in the country. This is a significant point regarding job creation.

Example: an employee can claim a work injury regardless of whether the injury actually occurred at the current place of employment. An employee can claim a workers’ comp claim despite the fact that the injury – in reality – is an aggravated medical condition not even work related.

This can be considered a workers’ compensation claim against the employer. Is this right or even ethical?

Let me be clear: employers should do everything they can to make safe working conditions for their employees. An employer should take full responsibility if an injury took place at work. No employer should subject anyone to unsafe work conditions or put employees in harm’s way. We have federal laws and regulations that ensure a safe working environment for employees. However, our current state laws and regulations are heavily one sided and not employer friendly.

The way the law works now, the employee can claim an injury with no or little proof that it actually occurred at work. How does that help job creation? It doesn’t. The high cost of workers’ compensation claims hurts business and discourages companies from staying in Illinois. No tax breaks could ever offset the high cost of workers’ compensation to a small-business owner.

The same laws that are in place to protect and serve us are hurting small- to medium-sized businesses.

The state needs to really rethink its policies regarding workers’ compensation and taxes to be competitive with job creation. 

John M. Aguilar

Aurora

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