New Oklahoma workers' compensation laws were passed earlier this year. Despite the law taking effect, there has still been plenty of uproar and debate regarding the intended workers' comp changes. And that debate is getting its time before the Oklahoma Supreme Court officially as of today.
Yes, Dec. 10 is here, and court justices began hearing the case of what's come to be the controversial matter of workers' compensation reform in the state. The court must answer whether the points of the legislation fit within the scope of the state's constitution.
Critics highlight the following aspects of the workers' compensation changes as problematic:
- Changing the system from a legislative one to an administrative workers' comp system could deny injured workers of their access to a trial.
- Employers could opt-out of the system if they have their own benefit plans in place for injured workers.
The above points are just a couple of those that worry opponents of the possible system reform. There are various other constitutional concerns that the court will evaluate when making its decision. There is no indication regarding when a decision on the laws will be made.
This workers' compensation matter could result in at least a few different ways. The court could reject all of the changes to the system, approve them all as constitutional or approve only the changes that it sees as ethical according to the state's constitution. We will post an update when there is a development. This case will impact the process of all Oklahoma workers' compensation in the future.
Source: Associated Press, "Okla. Supreme Court hears workers' comp. challenge," Tim Talley, Dec. 10, 2013