Last April, the News & Observer produced a report that as many as 30,000 businesses in North Carolina failed to carry the workers' compensation insurance required by law, leaving employees at risk if they were hurt on the job. The paper used public information to compile the report, prompting legislators to pass a bill in July that made much of that information confidential.
Some legislators say they didn't realize the bill would effectively block employees from finding out if their own employers carried workers' compensation insurance, and now some lawmakers say they want to reverse course.
Rep. Dale Folwell, a republican , told the News & Observer that he didn't know the provision would block employee access to the records, and he told a legislative committee meeting that "the legislature shouldn't seal information from employees."
Some legislators said the changes were made to protect insurance companies from competition on their rates.
This year, legislators said they expect to change the law again, though they are still unsure of how to protect some of the information while making it available to employees.
Legislators are also expected to take up the issue of so-called ghost policies this year. These policies are meant to provide coverage for one employee who may be hired in the future. They are often used by businesses to cover contractors or legitimate employees instead of buying protection for all workers.
The North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin are here to help you if you have been injured on the job and have been denied workers' compensation benefits or have not been given the full benefits to which you feel you are entitled. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.