For years, the N.C. Industrial Commission has done little to detect employers who go without workers' compensation coverage and has done little to punish those who can't cover a claim when a worker gets hurt. After an April 1 report in The News & Observer, state officials promised swift action, starting with hearings that were conducted all day Thursday and many more in the coming months. In total, hundreds of uninsured employer cases will face scrutiny.
These are cases in which workers say they were injured, and their employer has no workers' compensation insurance. The Industrial Commission has scheduled these cases for a hearing to determine the merits of the claim and decide whether the worker ought to be paid. They could also leverage penalties against the employer for failing to carry workers compensation as the law requires.
These are cases in which uninsured employers have already been ordered to pay medical bills and wages to injured workers. They were also assigned fines for failing to keep coverage as required by law. Some of the cases are as much as seven years old, and despite commission orders to pay, the employer hasn't met his obligations.
Click here to see a schedule of upcoming hearings.