Employers Need to Stand Up for Employees

Let me tell you a story about a friend of mine. I’ll call him Daryl, which is not his name, but just so he has a name.

Daryl works in construction, which he loves. He’s a good employee because he loves the work, it’s all he ever wanted to do from the time he was five. I know because I’ve known Daryl since he was five, and he’s been zany about power tools, bulldozers, and hammers since then.

Six months ago, Daryl fell while building a house. He’s okay, or he will be, but he ended up dislocating his knee and needing time off.

Thankfully, Daryl’s employer has the required workers’ compensation insurance, so Daryl thought he’d be set. He filled out the paperwork and expected to get the benefits that are supposed to come with it.

But Daryl was denied.

Why? The reason was that he apparently didn’t follow the procedure just right and didn’t quite fill out the paperwork to their liking.

Imagine my poor friend, who has been a loyal employee in a time when few people are (he’s only ever worked for one construction company). He’s injured, he needs time to get well, he needs the money from his wages to pay for his rent, and he needs assistance with medical bills and physical therapy. I can tell you, in 30 years of friendship, I’ve never seen Daryl cry, and Daryl was crying when he told me this.

I’m glad to say Daryl’s story has a happy ending. He appealed the decision, and the appeal went his way, but this all got me thinking: employers need to do more to stand up for employees in this situation.

Daryl’s construction company didn’t help him hardly at all with the paperwork for this injury. His boss was if anything slightly annoyed by it and seemed to imply it was Daryl’s fault. Of course, this isn’t true, Daryl was being as cautious as he could but doing manual labor all day lends itself to wear and tear on the body.

As it turns out, lots of people don’t get help from their employers. Some people actually have to get short-term disability lawyers to help them.

I think that’s shameful. If employees show loyalty and work hard for a company, the company should stand by them, it’s only natural. Even if it raises some insurance rates, the company ought to help any way they can.

Needless to say, Daryl will probably be looking for a different company to work for after this is all done. If they weren’t there for him, why should he continue to be there for them? It’s a tough decision for him, and I think it says a lot that because of how the employer acted, America is losing one of the last truly loyal employees out there.

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