It’s Labor Rights Week in Pennsylvania and across the Nation

From August 29 to September 4, 2016, the nation celebrates Labor Rights Week.  Specifically,

During Labor Rights Week, we remind ALL those that work in the United States of their right to:

A safe and healthy workplace free of obvious hazards

Fair wages — including overtime pay and the federal minimum wage

Say something to your employer about unsafe conditions or unfair wages

Far too many times, we have seen workers that we represent injured from unsafe and hazardous conditions.  Often, these types of conditions have simple solutions and fixes, but some employers chose to ignore them, putting workers at unnecessary risks.   (more…)

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Pennsylvania Employee injured while running in parking lot not granted workers’ compensation

There are cases now and then that involve the argument of 'course and scope', meaning, did the injury occur in the course and scope of employment.  Over the years, Pennsylvania Courts have reduced gray areas of the law involving course and scope arguments.  Recently, the Commonwealth Court issued an opinion, in Quality Bicycle Products v. WCAB (Shaw), No. 1570 C.D. 2015 (Cmwlth Ct., 2016), further defining the elements of the course and scope test. In Quality Bicycle Products, a Claimant…

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Harrisburg plumbing company fined by OSHA

A Harrisburg area plumbing company, Williamson Plumbing, has been fined by OSHA for safety violations after a workers was injured while working in a trench.  The injury was caused by a trench collapse, which trapped the injured worker and caused the injured worker to have to be hospitalized. After investigating, OSHA issued citations for what it called “one willful, six serious and one other-than-serious violations.” The agency also issued citations to the company for failing to: – keep excavated materials…

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Can I receive unemployment after settling my workers’ comp? Part II

You may remember that we addressed this issue in July 2014.  If not, you can read that article here. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has handed down a new case on March 9, 2016.  So has this changed the legal ground with reference to the settlement of a workers' compensation case and subsequent entitlement to unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania?  The answer, no, not really. As we stated in our previous post, Lee v. UCBR set the standard in cases where a…

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OSHA reports on first year of injury reporting

The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) has reported on its first year of the severe work injury reporting program.  All Employers throughout the country are required now to report severe work place injuries.  Specifically,  Now, under a requirement that took effect Jan. 1, 2015, employers must report to OSHA within 24 hours any work-related amputation, in-patient hospitalization, or loss of eye Of the injuries reported last year, here is the breakdown provided in the OSHA report. "Employers reported 10,388…

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Are Workers Compensation benefits taxable in Pennsylvania?

It's that time of year when we either file or begin preparation to file our state and federal tax returns.  That means it is an appropriate time to address the taxation issue of workers compensation wage loss benefits. So are your weekly wage loss benefits taxable?  The answer is NO.   Pennsylvania does not tax as income workers compensation benefits.  According to IRS Publication 907, your workers compensation weekly wage loss benefits are not taxable at the federal level either.…

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Pennsylvania sets new Workers Compensation Average Weekly Wage rates for 2016

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has released the new state wide average weekly wage chart for 2016.  Here are the 2016 workers compensation rates for wage loss benefits. YOUR WAGES (PER WEEK) Average Weekly Wage COMPENSATION RATE Amount You Will Receive $1468.00 and Above $978.00 (Maximum Rate) $733.51 to $1467.00 2/3 of AWW $543.33 to $733.50 $489.00 $542.32 or Less 90% of AWW In workers compensation, your Average Weekly Wage is calculated based on your earnings prior to…

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Commonwealth Court Reaffirms Residency Does Not Provide Jurisdiction in Workers Compensation

Recently, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, once again, addressed the issue of state jurisdiction over a workers compensation claim. In this case, a Pennsylvania resident was injured in an auto accident in New Jersey, while working for a trucking company based out of Alabama.  During the pendency of the claim, the Claimant was receiving workers compensation benefits through the state of Alabama.   When the Claimant applied for his position, he testified that he completed an online application at his home…

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Pennsylvania Workers Compensation and Holiday Parties

With the Holiday season rapidly approaching, it also means numerous Holiday parties, and that includes, Holiday parties through our place of employment.  Ultimately, you may hear of an employee getting injured while at a company Holiday party.  If an employee is injured at a company Holiday party, are they entitled to workers compensation benefits in Pennsylvania? The answer to that question is --- it depends.  These cases are often very fact sensitive and case law has identified factors to be…

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PA Commonwealth Court changes Impairment Rating Evaluations in Workers Compensation

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court invalidated Section 306 (a.2)1 of the Workers Compensation Act, as amended, finding the language to be an unlawful delegation of power to a private entity.  Let's first take a look at the language of Section 306 (a/.2)1. (a.2) (1) When an employe has received total disability compensation pursuant to clause (a) for a period of one hundred four weeks, unless otherwise agreed to, the employe shall be required to submit to a medical examination which shall…

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