While fans were rooting for the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team on the road in the NCAA playoffs and championship, back on campus the organization was in hot water over a construction contractor that was reportedly avoiding worker protection laws. The incident helps illustrate important points about the state’s workers’ compensation system.
The Connecticut Department of Labor ordered Intext Building Systems to stop work on a $32 million project at the UConn Basketball Champions Center after the agency found that the contractor had hired undocumented workers and paid them in cash in an apparent effort to avoid paying taxes and providing for workers’ compensation. The wages the company paid these workers were also significantly lower than those mandated for skilled labor at state building sites.
After the state shut down the project, construction was halted for more than a month. Recently, the Department of Labor announced that work would begin again, but that Intext would not be involved.
Most employers are required under Connecticut law to have workers’ compensation insurance. After a worker is injured or sickened in a workplace accident, the worker can make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in order to be compensated for medical expenses and lost wages. The benefits typically come in amounts that are mandated under state law, but many employers could not afford to pay them without the insurance.
When employers have inadequate insurance, or when the insurance company is reluctant to pay for benefits, injured workers can be stuck in a difficult situation. Connecticut attorneys with experience in workers’ compensation claims can help the injured workers to stand up for their rights.
Source: CT News Junkie, “Stop Work Order at UConn Lifted, But Banned Contractor Won’t Be Back,” Megan Merrigan, April 4, 2014