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Legal

WI first responder COVID-19 infections presumed work related

If a Wisconsin first responder is diagnosed with COVID-19, it’s presumed work related under a law that went into effect April 17, 2020.

Temporary MN law change: Positions where COVID-19 infections are presumed work-related

Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law has been temporarily amended to include a presumption of liability for certain workers with a positive COVID-19 laboratory test or clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 when a test is not available.

The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act and workers’ compensation

We’ve been receiving a lot of questions from employers about the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA), federal legislation passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following are answers to common questions we’ve been hearing from employers.

Compensability of adverse COVID-19 vaccine reactions

The COVID-19 vaccinations began with the highest risk populations and frontline workers in health care and long-term care facilities across the U.S. This raises the question of compensability for adverse reactions from the COVID-19 vaccine, and related medical treatment and time lost from work. A key factor for workers’ compensation compensability is whether the vaccination was mandatory or voluntary. To date, the federal government and most states have not taken action to declare the COVID-19 vaccine to be mandatory.

Iowa commissioner deems rotator cuff a ‘shoulder’ injury

Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Joseph Cortese determined that an injury to a muscle in the rotator cuff is considered a shoulder injury for the purpose of determining permanent partial disability benefits.

MN Supreme Court addresses workers’ compensation case

The Minnesota Supreme Court addressed the rights of intervenors in workers’ compensation proceedings in the August 12, 2020, decision of Koehnen v. Flagship Marine Company and Auto Owners Insurance Company.

A legal perspective on injuries while working from home

It can be challenging to determine whether an employee’s injury is considered work related, even in the typical work environment. Working from home can present unique workers’ compensation issues due to the inevitable mix of work-related and personal activities.

Retirement presumption can affect workers’ comp benefits

Most Minnesota workers retire at 67, but employers may have to continue permanent total disability benefits if an employee continues working past the expected age.

Information for employers: Injuries while working from home

With more employees working from home due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many policyholders have turned to SFM for answers on liability questions concerning the home office. 

Cumulative injury coverage under workers' compensation

Some work injuries don’t occur at a specific time, but rather they are the result of a degenerative process that takes place over months or years.

Even unpaid interns may be eligible for workers’ comp

If your organization offers internships, be aware that even unpaid interns could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

What employers should know about marijuana safety and impairment policies

An employer's legal marijuana safety and impairment policy options may depend on the level of operations the company has with the federal government.

Are employees compensated when injured while violating company rules?

Employers are can be frustrated to learn that employees injured while violating company safety rules can still receive workers’ compensation benefits in some cases.

Tips for a smooth premium audit

Read our premium audit tips to make sure yours goes smoothly, and understand why your annual workers' compensation premium audit is so important.

Are employee injuries at parties and wellness events eligible for workers' comp benefits?

Typically, an injury sustained in an activity that is truly voluntary is not compensable. But if the employee is encouraged or required to participate, or the company benefits from the participation in some way, it could be.

Workers' compensation and home office telecommuting

Employees who are injured while taking a short break from work can be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. What happens when the injury occurs while the employee is working from home?

Can you screen job applicants for prior workers' compensation claims?

Asking job candidates about past work injuries, disabilities or medical histories isn't appropriate under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or state laws.

Workers’ comp exemptions for MN small business owners and families

Minnesota law allows employers to exclude certain types of employees from coverage, such as small business owners and their close relatives.

OSHA electronic reporting requirements for employers

You may have questions about whether your business is required to submit information to OSHA electronically, and what information you will need to submit.

From the president: Another blown opportunity to save lives in Minnesota

SFM has been an active supporter of proposed state laws banning the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving.

"Ban the Box" doesn't prevent criminal background check

"Ban the box" is a national movement that prevents employers from asking about criminal history prior to interviewing applicants. In some cases, criminal background checks can be a useful hiring tool.

What the 'gig economy' means for worker protections

A growing gig economy might leave some workers with gaps in workers' compensation and other protections.

Are your workers independent contractors or employees?

Employers' workers' compensation requirements differ for workers considered employees versus those considered independent contractors.

Wisconsin law makes workers’ compensation ‘exclusive remedy’ for temp worker injuries

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law on February 28 that prevents temporary employees who sustain work injuries from suing their employers, rather than going through workers’ compensation.

Are injuries at a work holiday party compensable?

Although in most cases injuries that occur during a work holiday party would not be compensable, there are some exceptions.

A man yelling at a coworker in an office
Why you need to watch out for workplace bullies

The Workplace Bullying Institute estimates that 60.3 million U.S. workers are affected by bullying. Here are tips to prevent it in your workplace.

Do volunteers qualify for workers' compensation?

Volunteers generally aren’t eligible for workers' compensation benefits, but there are exceptions, and state laws can differ.

Tips for hiring temporary workers or subcontractors

Before you hire temporary employees or independent subcontractors, get answers to your questions about their safety and workers’ compensation coverage.

What are employer liability limits?

Employer liability coverage is rarely used in most states, and makes up a very small part of the workers' compensation insurance premium.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad
What Iowa’s new workers’ compensation changes mean

Iowa’s workers’ compensation system will see some significant changes on July 1, 2017, under a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad in March.

Wisconsin medical board adopts opioid prescribing guidelines

The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board adopted new guidelines for prescribing opioid painkillers aimed at combating heroin use.

Minnesota commissioner allows medical marijuana use for intractable pain

The Minnesota commissioner of health decided to allow intractable pain as a qualifying condition to use medical marijuana.

Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin legislators change state laws regarding workers’ comp

Here’s a roundup of the more significant changes to state workers’ compensation laws in 2015 in SFM’s core states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Minnesota implements new rules for prescribing opioid painkillers

To prevent injured workers from ending up with painkiller addictions, the state of Minnesota has adopted stronger requirements for prescribing physicians.

Nebraska Supreme Court reverses workers’ comp ruling

This 2015 ruling from the Nebraska Supreme court reversed a lower court’s ruling on the workers’ compensation case.

Iowa Supreme Court says workers’ compensation surveillance footage need not be disclosed before deposition

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that employers do not need to provide surveillance footage to workers’ compensation claimants before they are deposed.

The four most effective tactics to avoid workers' compensation litigation

On-the-job injuries can cost your company time, productivity, money and even employee morale — costs that are compounded when you become engaged in a legal battle.

What your employee handbook should say about workers' compensation

Incorporating workers' compensation into your employee handbook shows your staff that you take work injuries seriously.

How to discipline employees who’ve experienced work injuries

Simply because an employee sustained a work injury does not excuse that employee from performing the duties and expected standards of the job.

Minnesota Supreme Court maintains status quo for PTSD claims

The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed that an employee’s post-traumatic stress disorder was a non-compensable mental injury under the law in effect at the time of injury.

Minnesota Supreme Court reverses appeals court's Dykhoff decision

The 2013 Dykhoff decision provides insight into what it means for an injury to “arise out of” employment, making it eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Injuries while entering and leaving the workplace: A primer

State law requires that employers provide safe, well-maintained and accessible routes for employees to and from their parked vehicles into their place of work.

Police officer’s mental injury might have been compensable under amended Minnesota workers’ compensation law

Minnesota law previously did not allow workers' compensation benefits for mental injuries unless they caused or were accompanied by physical injuries.

First ‘GINA’ lawsuit settled by EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settled the first lawsuit it had filed under the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

Summer can increase schools' workers' comp exposure

At schools, the summer months can present high potential for workers' compensation exposure, because wage-loss benefits can drag out longer than they would otherwise.

Minnesota workers’ compensation law sees significant changes

Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law underwent its most substantive change since 1992 during the 2013 legislative session.

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