Under Pennsylvania's state laws, employers that meet certain specifications
regarding the size and nature of their business and workforce are required
to carry workers' compensation insurance. This insurance ensures that,
in the case that there is aninjured worker, that worker will be able to receive workers' compensation benefits
from the company.
When employers do not wish to carry this insurance, there are certain illegal
measures that they can take to get around having to provide workers'
compensation benefits to injured workers. One of the most common ways
is to falsely state that some of the individuals working for the company
are sub-contractors. In this case, they do not need to provide workers'
compensation for these individuals.
Foreign students that were working at a warehouse in Pennsylvania protested
working conditions back in August of 2011, and they have finally received
a judgment in their favor that will entitle them to back pay. The students
were employed at the factory to repackage candy for promotional displays.
They complained that the company was not only paying them below federal
minimum wage guidelines, but also that the workplace was unsafe.
In addition to paying the student workers back pay, the settlement requires
the company to pay $143,000 for health and safety violations. As a part
of the settlement, the company has agreed to proactively take the necessary
measures to ensure that in the future the factory is in compliance with
OSHA and FLSA safety standards.
All employers are required to take whatever action is reasonably necessary
to ensure a safe workplace for their employees. When an employee is injured
at work, they are able to file for workers' compensation benefits.
Depending upon the nature of the accident and injuries, the employee may
be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and potentially
for disabilities that resulted from the accident.
When an employer is not providing a safe workplace for their employees,
it is only fair that they are sanctioned accordingly and required to improve
the nature of their workplace to prevent future injuries.
Source: PennLive.com, "The Hershey Co.: Student-worker Protestors to Get Back
Pay," Nov. 14, 2012