An Act Protecting Injured Workers

S1068/H1670: An Act Protecting Injured Workers
Lead Sponsors: Senator Jaime Eldridge and Representative Tram Nguyen
Workers’ compensation benefits are crucial for employees injured on the job, providing them with medical care and wage loss benefits when they are unable to work. Yet the law leaves workers largely unprotected when employers retaliate against employees or try to prevent them from reporting a workplace injury, seeking medical care, or filing a workers’ comp claim. Currently, no state agency has any power or ability to investigate retaliation complaints or to enforce the current anti-retaliation law. A worker may bring a lawsuit in court, but the scope of the lawsuit and the potential remedies are limited and ineffective. Too often, as a result of employer misconduct, workers remain unaware of their workers’ comp rights, are deterred from seeking medical care and benefits, or suffer greatly from delays in obtaining coverage.  An Act Protecting Injured Workers strengthens the anti-retaliation law, provides for an administrative complaint and investigation mechanism for enforcement, and otherwise addresses employer misconduct that prevents workers from receiving timely medical care and benefits.
An Act Protecting Injured Workers has been proposed by a coalition of Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative members (Brazilian Women’s Group, Brazilian Worker Center, Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores, Chelsea Collaborative, Chinese Progressive Association, Lynn Worker Center, MA Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health (MassCOSH), and Metrowest Worker Center/Casa), Justice at Work, and legal advocates.