Off-Limits Interview Questions Every Injured Worker Should Know

Uncategorized Oct 01, 2018

You got the interview! Congratulations! Wondering which questions you’ll be asked? You should expect the usual ones, such as “What’s your greatest weakness?” You may get something more original like “If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you?” Regardless of what your interviewer wants to know, there are several interview questions you should never be asked. Be aware — questions about several subjects are a violation of your rights.

Don’t assume that an employer is asking discriminatory questions on purpose. Often they are just trying to see how you will fit the position. However, it is important that you understand and protect yourself from illegal interview questions and the legal alternatives used to get the same information from you. Be prepared and know your options by understanding examples of legal versus illegal questions.

In short, the following topics are off-limits:

Age Race
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Increased Suicide Rates: Compensability and Prevention

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2018

Suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30% since 1999, and mental health conditions are one of several factors contributing to suicide, a compensable workers' compensation condition.

It has been reported that from 1999-2016, suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states, with 25 states experiencing increases of up to 30%.

In 1981, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that an employee's death by suicide is considered compensable under the Workers' Compensation Act of New Jersey where the suicide is shown to be the result of the employee's becoming dominated by a disturbance of mind caused by the employee's original work-related injury and its consequences, including severe pain and despair, which are of such severity as to override normal, rational judgment.

Relationship problems and losses have been reported as having a significant impact on suicides. A physical health problem existed in 22.3% of reported suicides. Additionally, a job or financial problem existed...

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The Spoon Theory

Uncategorized Sep 04, 2018

Do you know about the spoons? Because you should.

Written by Christine Miserandino, a well-known patient advocate, The Spoon Theory tells the story of a girl with Lupus explaining her disease to a friend using 12 metal spoons late at night in a diner. The analogy she illustrates is a perfect example of how physical or mental illness can change your entire way of viewing the world and how you cope with daily life choices.

“I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.”

She goes on to explain, “Most people start the day with an unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to...

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Mental Health and Injured Workers

Uncategorized Sep 04, 2018

With World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day approaching next month (October 10th and 11th), we wanted to discuss what mental health means when it comes to injured workers. As we all know, many people who have suffered the misfortune of a workplace injury face the prospect of being out for work for an extended period of time. During this time, other challenges emerge (loss of income, lack of physical activity, inability to pay bills, prolonged periods of pain, anxiety, and so on). Not surprisingly, one of the big concerns injured workers face is the increased likelihood that they could become depressed.

Depression is insidious and misunderstood. We want to shine a light on the many ways that depression manifests itself in people so that it can be detected and addressed early. We want people to recognize when someone they know may need help. Depression has a profound impact on general health, individual and family quality of life, activities of daily living, and...

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Is your employer responsible for medical expenses after an on-the-job injury?

Uncategorized Aug 29, 2018

When you have had a work injury, the last thing you need to worry about is how your medical bills will be paid.

In such a situation, the California State Constitution grants you the right to medical treatment at the employer's expense. In fact, the employer must pay for IMMEDIATE medical treatment for ALL claimed injuries. If the employer denies responsibility for all or part of your injuries, you have the right to get an opinion from a physician to determine if the injury or condition is work-related. If the employer (or its adjuster) refuse or neglect to provide treatment, under specific circumstances, you may be able to select a doctor of your choice without any cost to you.

Many injured workers hope they will get over an injury without treatment, but if your injury or condition becomes serious, delay in reporting it to your employer may be a big mistake. You do not want to further damage your health or your legal rights.

If you have suffered an injury or...

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Uber and Lyft Drivers Need to Know

Uncategorized Aug 29, 2018

As the “gig” economy continues to grow in California, companies like Uber and Lyft may claim that their drivers are “independent contractors,” and therefore not entitled to workers compensation benefits when they are injured on the job.

Fortunately, the California Supreme Court has issued an important decision about the potential rights of Uber and Lyft drivers when they suffer an injury on the job.

The California Supreme Court

Some companies have created phone apps to facilitate jobs, and claim that because of this modern technology, the employee is magically transformed into an “independent contractor” rather than an employee. However, a worker may be an employee regardless of what the employer thinks. On April 30, 2018, the Court announced its landmark decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. vs The Superior Court of Los Angeles County. 4 Cal. 5th 542, 573, 411 P.3d 528 (2018).

Simply put, the Court issued clear guidance on how...

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On The Job Knee Injuries

Uncategorized Aug 28, 2018

Skeptics of cumulative trauma injuries try to discount the integrity of an entire class of hard-working people. They insist that due to a few “bad apples,” all such claims are invalid.

But it's obvious to most people that heavy physical work overtime can easily take a toll on your body, and medical studies confirm it.

The bottom line is that a skeptic doesn't wake up with pain every morning. You do.

Take the largest joint in the body – your knee.

Many work activities require heavy use of your knees, and some workers eventually experience pain, swelling, “clicking” or popping in one or both knees. The diagnosis could be:

  • Bursitis
  • Sprain or strain
  • ACL, PCL or MCL damage
  • Dislocations
  • Tendonitis
  • Meniscus Tear
  • Tibia or fibula fractures

Treatment for these injuries may include surgery, prescription medication, physical therapy, heat/ice, steroid injections, knee braces, and even total knee replacement.

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3 Reasons the Cost is Much Higher than $6,000

Uncategorized Aug 14, 2018

When I was injured I had no high school diploma. I was married and raising three young children. I had been a legal secretary for over a decade and it had never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to keep on working at that job. When I learned that my injury would not allow me to continue that work, my future looked pretty dismal. I could not find any other position that would pay me what I needed unless I gained some new skills.

1. No Education, No Future
If an injured worker does not receive the $6,000 training voucher to learn a new way of making a living, they are being deprived of a future where they can thrive. When they can no longer perform their previous job, it is critical that they are offered a way to learn new and profitable skills. If they cannot get an education to learn something new, how can they make a change? How will they survive? It is incredibly difficult to remain hopeful when you can’t see a way out. An education is the key to creating a...

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7 Best Practices for Helping Injured Workers

Uncategorized Jul 15, 2018

There are seven best practices that OCC is committed to utilizing in helping our clients. We hope that attorneys and other counseling services will adopt these practices to get more of the money into the pockets of injured workers and to prevent the misuse of these funds.

1. The Ability-to-Benefit (ABT) test has recently been used to discriminate against injured workers without much past education. The test is required to receive financial aid by most US public colleges that admit students without a high school diploma or the certificate of equivalency. The previously uneducated are not marked as eligible for education. We firmly believe in improving the quality of people’s lives by pulling them up, not throwing them away. We step up and tutor our clients to pass the ABT. If we all band together and create systems and support injured workers, we will be able to help them thrive.

2. Many injured workers are not receiving the tools, including computers that have been approved...

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Success Story: Viktoria

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2018

While many people are trying to figure out how to live life to the fullest, injured workers often have the benefit of eventually seeing their retraining as a “reset” in life so they can really appreciate what life has to offer. It’s as if after a period of darkness, the lights have been turned on to new possibilities.

When Viktoria came to OCC, she had suffered a traumatic head injury. While working as a jewelry specialist at a department store, a large piece of machinery fell on her, injuring her head, back, and shoulder. Viktoria often dealt with confusion, blurry vision, and difficulty concentrating. She was not sure that any type of retraining would be possible for her.

Together, Viktoria and her OCC counselor considered many different options. Together they learned about the best ways for her to improve her attention and concentration. Viktoria was able to plan for success by removing distractions, focusing on one task at a time, and taking breaks when she got...

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