Disabled workers paid pennies despite federal minimum wage

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Michigan workers compensation lawyer explains why favored work is not always what it seems and how to protect your legal rights.

NBC News reports on a national charity whose executives earn six-figure salaries and pay disabled workers as little as three and four cents an hour. The investigation revealed that Goodwill Industries is permitted to pay disabled workers far less than minimum wage because of a federal law known as Section 14 (c).

This provision gives employers the right to pay disabled workers according to their abilities without a minimum. One franchise in Southeastern Michigan paid a worker only six cents an hour in 2010.

This investigation is fascinating because it reminds us of a problem with workers compensation. Employers can require a disabled worker to perform “favored work.” These jobs are in lieu of paying wage loss benefits under workers compensation. Some jobs are for charities while others simply require a person to stare at a brick wall. The goal is to get the person to quit and give up his or her workers compensation benefits. We have even heard of some employers getting kick backs to offer these phony positions.

What is favored work?

Favored work is a job within a person’s capacity to perform that poses no danger to health and safety. It is not limited to past qualifications and training. Any difference in pay should be made up by workers compensation.

Some employers will offer demeaning jobs that have no value to the company or anyone else. Wage loss benefits will be forfeited if the person quits. This is a strategy used to harass and minimize the payment of workers compensation benefits.

Where to turn for help?

A job offer can be refused if it is beyond medical restrictions or too far from home. A person should also be provided with defined job duties, location, and rate of pay. A bad job offer can be challenged in court and benefits reinstated. Entitlement to wage loss should also resume once a person makes himself or herself available to work.

You should not have to sacrifice your health or dignity just so your employer can save a few bucks. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation with a Michigan workers compensation lawyer. We understand the issues and can help protect your legal rights.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

Related information:

Video: Injured at work? Advice from a Michigan workers comp lawyer

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Maura Teague.

08/01/2013

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Author Bio Jeffrey Kaufman

Author
Jeffrey E. Kaufman
Michigan Workers Comp Attorney

Jeffrey E. Kaufman has extensive experience in workers compensation cases and has recovered millions of dollars in benefits for his clients. He believes all injured workers deserve to be on equal footing with insurance companies and employers, and fights tenaciously so their rights are secured and protected.


“Jeff also helped me with getting my Blue Cross bills paid. I would absolutely recommend him and the whole firm. Jeff and the firm did everything they were supposed to do for me and my case.”
Ricardo Perfetto

Hundreds of 5-Star Reviews

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Get Help From our Michigan Workers’ Comp Lawyers Today

You’re not alone. Our Michigan workers’ comp lawyers have been called the best in the state, and our clients love how they’re treated with care, respect, and responsiveness. We will give you the time you need, we will explain your legal rights, and we will always treat you with respect.

Our workers’ compensation and Social Security disability lawyers always put your needs first. Get to know your legal team.

Our attorneys post regularly about common issues related to workers’ comp, including common injuries, settlement calculations, laws, and more.

Injured? It’s Time to Get Some Answers

Don’t let the insurance adjuster push you around. Request your free consultation today.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Our attorneys post regularly about common issues related to workers’ comp, including common injuries, settlement calculations, laws, and more.

Our workers’ compensation and Social Security disability lawyers always put your needs first. Get to know your legal team.