Gender and benefits in North Carolina

When determining workers' compensation benefits, it is possible that gender will be taken into account. One woman who suffered numbness in her hands and wrists after working on a computer for 17 years applied for workers' compensation benefits, and it was determined her injury was job-related. However, she was told that she would receive 20 percent less than a man would have for the same injury.

This is because an investigation determined that her age and gender put her at a higher risk for getting carpal tunnel. The woman is part of a class-action lawsuit filed in California by multiple plaintiffs who claim that they received only 20 to 80 percent of the benefits a man would have gotten. Those who study wage issues in the workplace say that more attention should be focused on this gap.

Several reasons are given as to why women may receive less than full benefits when injured. First, many doctors who do medical evaluations that determine whether a worker receives benefits are male. In some cases, women may not know that they are being given less because of their gender, which may make it harder to ask questions about their benefit levels.

Repetitive stress injuries can be extraordinarily painful, and they can diminish the victim's quality of life. Most employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage, and these types of injuries when incurred on the job can be compensable. Benefits can include medical treatment as well as partial wage replacement. An attorney can often be of assistance in preparing and submitting the required claim.

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