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Women may get lower workers' comp benefits than men, study says

North Carolina residents may be interested in learning that many female employees hurt on the job receive less workers' compensation benefits than their male counterparts. According to some, this is due to gender discrimination. As a result, a number of women injured on the job have filed a class-action lawsuit in California, alleging that they each experienced an unfair cut in workers' compensation benefits.

One of the plaintiffs in the suit is a woman who developed carpal tunnel syndrome after working nearly 20 years for a telecom company. As a technician, the woman experienced numbness and pain in her wrists and hands, for which she filed a claim for compensation. Although she was told that her injuries were found to be work related, she was considered at greater risk for the injuries because of her gender and age. As a result, her permanent disability benefits ended up being 20 percent less than what her male coworkers would get for the same injury.

One of the attorneys representing the women in the lawsuit said that the state-trained medical evaluators for workers' compensation cases are mostly male. In many cases, these evaluators base their decisions to pay women less compensation than men who suffer the same injuries solely on the fact that their gender makes them more prone to joint disease, carpal tunnel and other similar injuries.

Whenever a female employee is injured while working, she can exercise her right to file for workers' compensation benefits. In the event that she is denied full benefits, and she learns that the decision was based on her gender and not on her injury alone, she might consider contacting an attorney. The lawyer could examine the case and offer advice on how to pursue fair compensation.

Source: The Cut, "Injured at Work? Your Gender Could Affect How Much You're Paid.," Ann Friedman, July 15, 2016

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