Illinois residents rely on the U.S. Postal Service for their mail, but its injured workers could not rely on the USPS for help. Instead of making sure that tens of thousands of people who were hurt while sorting or delivering mail got the workers’ compensation they needed, the USPS fired them. The sad reality is that this can and does happen all the time, even in Illinois.
Sorting and delivering mail is a physically tasking job. Postal workers are only 20% of workers at the federal level, but in 2019, they accounted for approximately half of the federal worker injuries or illnesses. The Labor Department says that almost 37,000 postal workers sought workers’ compensation for injuries and illnesses that same year.
In 2011, the USPS created a program that specifically targeted injured workers instead of creating safer work environments. Over a five-year period, USPS fired or forced out around 44,000 injured workers. The targeted workers were frequently those that had suffered serious injuries like spinal or nerve damage that seriously limited necessary limb function in arms, shoulders, feet, hands, feet and backs. These types of injuries often require lengthy recovery time and treatments.
Losing a job while receiving workers’ compensation will not end those benefits. This is not widespread knowledge though, and some injured workers might be scared to report their injuries or pursue benefits if they are worried about losing their jobs. Unfortunately, there is a lot about the Illinois workers’ compensation system that is confusing or complicated, so some people choose to speak with an experienced attorney about their options.