WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN THE NEWS, EPISODE #1: BURGER MADNESS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Many news articles involve work injuries.  A recent viral story about Burger King Employees quitting their jobs en masse is one of them.

Fox News reported that  “[e]mployees there said they’ve been working in a kitchen with no air conditioning for weeks, with the temperature reaching more than 90 degrees at one point, according to KLKN Channel 8.  One employee, former general manager Rachael Flores, was reportedly hospitalized for dehydration, according to KLKN Channel 8. “

This article will discuss how these facts involve a work-related injury and what legal issue, within workers’ compensation, that may apply.

What Is the Work Injury? 

From the facts, the high heat at the work location may have caused the work to suffer from dehydration.   This is suggestive of a heat-related illness/injury.

Heat Illnesses can include (1)  Heat Stroke which is the most serious form of heat illness. It requires immediate medical treatment. Symptoms include confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures; (2)  Heat Exhaustion which is is a less serious form of heat illness. It can involve headaches, nausea, dizziness, irritability, thirst and heavy sweating. It can lead to heat stroke; (3)  Heat Cramps which is a mild form of heat illness. It is essentially muscle cramps and spasms. They can occur either when working or not; and (4) Heat Rash which is a skin irritation. It is also known as “prickly heat.”

How Does This Injury Become A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The Burger King Employee who suffered from dehydration should file a workers’ compensation claim.  Workers’ Compensation Insurance should pay for this worker’s medical bills and receive all other workers’ compensation benefits.

Is There A Special Claim That May Apply In This Case?

Yes.  This claim has facts to suggest that the employer acted in a way that would be considered serious and willful misconduct.  The working conditions concerning the high heat may have been in violation of safety regulations.  Also, there may have been intentional acts delaying the repair of the air conditioning unit.

Per Labor Code Section 4553, “the amount of compensation [for the workers’ compensation claim] otherwise recoverable shall be increased one-half, together with costs and expenses not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250), where the employee is injured by reason of the serious and willful misconduct of any of the following: (a) The employer, or his managing representative. (b) If the employer is a partnership, on the part of one of the partners or a managing representative or general superintendent thereof. (c) If the employer is a corporation, on the part of an executive, managing officer, or general superintendent thereof.”

What If I Need Advice?

 If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for over 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

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