The Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission (IWCC) voted unanimously yesterday to repeal the controversial emergency rule approved earlier this month that created a presumption that essential workers who contracted COVID-19 did so in the workplace.
The Commission repealed the rule following a setback last week when a Sangamon County Judge entered a restraining order temporarily preventing the rule from being enforced. The lawsuit challenging the suit alleged that the IWCC over-reached its authority in enacting the rule.
The IWCC has withdrawn the rule in the face of a lawsuit that could haven taken a year to resolve and the cost of which would be uncertain. With the rule repealed, worker’s compensation claims will be determined by the same rules and procedures that were in place before the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that employees must prove that their contraction of the illness arose from the performance of their work duties.
Despite the withdrawal of the rule, however, the IWCC does not seem inclined to sit back and rest. It intends to form a Committee that will examine other possible actions that the Commission may take in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee of practitioners will be created to assist in the examination of problems created by the Covid-19 pandemic and help determine possible actions that the IWCC may take to solve these problems.
Employers should continue to monitor for notifications and any actions by Governor Pritzker impacting these rules. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, employers remain best served to continue taking appropriate measures to protect their employees and guard against workplace transference.
If you have questions about how this development affects your organization, please contact Johnson & Bell Shareholders, Christopher J. Carlos, Joseph F. Spitzzeri, Genevieve M. LeFevour, Brian C Langs or the Johnson & Bell attorney with whom you regularly work.
Visit The Docket for information on other developments related to confronting the COVID-19 pandemic.