The Cardozo Law School Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice has just published a law review article by Grey & Grey managing partner Robert Grey titled “The Experience of Immigrants and Low-Wage Workers in the New York State Workers’ Compensation System.”
Law review articles are scholarly articles that are often influential in the development of the law because they are written by experts in a field (professors, judges, experienced attorneys) and are frequently cited by courts as persuasive legal authority. Previous law review articles by Mr. Grey include “The Use of Medical Impairment, Functional Loss and Vocational Factors to Determine Loss of Wage Earning Capacity Under the 2012 Guidelines for Permanent Impairment” (Syracuse Law Review, 2013) and “Update on the Status of Workers’ Compensation Liens in the Settlement of Motor Vehicle Accident Cases” (Journal of the Suffolk Academy of Law, 1994). We also anticipate publication of another article in the upcoming edition of the Albany Law Review.
The current article traces the history of New York’s workers’ compensation system from its creation in 1914 – largely to protect immigrant workers who were employed in dangerous, low-paying jobs – to the present day. It discusses the fact that New York has not been immune from national trends that have reduced benefits for injured workers, and that these trends have been especially harmful to the very kinds of workers the law was designed to help. It also makes ten suggestions to improve this situation, including:
1. Equalizing the status of resident and non-resident dependents of immigrant workers who are killed on the job.
2. Increasing and indexing the minimum benefit rate.
3. Increasing the minimum payment rate for “schedule loss” awards for the permanent loss of use of a limb.
4. Ending the time limits or “caps” on permanent partial disability benefits.
5. Reducing the complexity of the workers’ compensation system.
6. Improving access to the system for workers who are not fluent in English.
7. Reforming anti-discrimination and retaliation laws, which are inadequate.
8. Providing workers’ compensation coverage for workers employed in “the gig economy.”
9. Removing obstacles that bar immigrants from receiving certain benefits for devastating limb injuries.
10. Eliminating the requirement for proof of “attachment to the labor market” as a condition of receiving compensation benefits for partial disability.
At Grey & Grey, we are dedicated not only to advancing the rights our clients have under existing law, but also to improving the law to help them and other injured and disabled workers now and in the future. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to call any of our offices or to email us at [email protected].