Although it is easy to take for granted many protections that American workers presently have under state and federal laws, it is worthwhile to occasionally be reminded of the hard and long fight that workers in industries across the county had to wage against employers to earn and then safeguard those rights. Even today — as much as at any time in the past — employees across the country need to routinely secure the assistance of experienced attorneys to protect and promote their legal interests in the workplace.
Congratulations must certainly be in order to commemorate the great compromise between employers and employees that is marked by the 100th anniversary this year of the workers’ compensation system in the United States. In what some commentators call “The Great Tradeoff,” the system was born after employers agreed to pay lost wages and medical bills to employees injured at work in return for the latter forsaking the right to sue for them in court.
The rise and eventual sticking of workers’ comp in America was anything but an amicable and peaceful experience. Employers were long averse to granting their workers any rights at all, and viewed demands as flatly disrespectful and without merit. For their part, workers were justifiably put out by overly long hours, no overtime, minimal safety protections and no compensation in the event of injury or death.
The first state to pass a workers’ comp statute — again, 100 years ago this year — was Wisconsin, with nine other states following it within the same year. The last to do so was Mississippi, in 1948.
Related Resource: www.insurancejournal.com “Happy 100th Birthday Workers’ Compensation: The Great Tradeoff!” March 23, 2011