Delta provided its flight attendants with new uniforms over the summer of 2018. Unfortunately, after the change to the new uniforms, many employees have become sick. They’ve been experiencing physical symptoms, such as rashes, chaffing, eye issues, nose bleeds, headaches, and even breathing problems. In the past American Airlines struggled with a similar issue when employees began experiencing health problems related to the chemicals present in their uniforms.
In Minnesota, this physical reaction to the chemicals present within the new uniforms is covered by the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act. As long as the flight attendant met the jurisdiction requirement to bring a workers’ compensation claim in Minnesota, he or she is protected under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act.
This type of injury is characterized as an occupational disease, as the chemical exposures occurred arising out of and in the course and scope of the employment. If you or someone you know is experiencing what you believe to be an adverse reaction to the uniforms, you should file a first report of injury and advise your supervisor of your issue. The sooner you report the issue, the better. If your employer chooses to dispute that you are in fact experiencing these symptoms, then your case will be stronger if you report right away.
Some employees may be afraid to report their injury in fear that they may lose their job. An employer is not allowed to terminate an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Moreover, even if this claim is denied, you may be protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
If you need medical attention, Delta is obligated to pay for reasonable and necessary medical care and treatment designed to cure or relieve the effects of the injury. This ensures that injured workers have access to medical care. Furthermore, your right to receive medical care and treatment for this injured continues for the rest of your life, as long as it is related to the underlying work-related condition.
If you are unable to continue to wear the uniform due to a persistent adverse physical reaction, then Delta may be obligated to provide reasonable accommodations. If Delta is unable to provide reasonable accommodates and you are unable to return to work, then you may be entitled to wage loss benefits under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act. An employee who is completely off work due to a work-related injury or condition is entitled to temporary total disability or TTD. TTD is calculated at 2/3 of the workers’ average weekly wage or the average of the worker’s earnings 26 weeks before the date of injury. An employee who earns less due to the work-related condition may be entitled to temporary partial disability or TPD. TPD is calculated at 2/3 of the difference between what the employee was earning pre-injury to post-injury. Wage loss benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act are non-taxable. Furthermore, flight attendants who are unable to work or are experiencing physical reactions to the chemicals in the uniform may also be entitled to the services of a QRC or a qualified rehabilitation consultant. A QRC assists injured workers’ with navigating the workers’ compensation system by assisting and coordinating medical care with providers and ensuring that the light duty or accommodations are within the workers’ physical restrictions.
If you have any questions, contact an attorney who will be able to explain your rights. Initial consultations at Meuser Law Office, P.A. are without charge. And if you do choose to retain an attorney, then attorney fees are paid on a contingency fee basis. This means if we do not recover monies on your behalf, then no fees are owed. Furthermore, if there are no disputes, then no attorney fees are withheld. We prefer that clients contact us early on in a case to prevent small issues from being larger more complicated disputes.
Contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. today at 1-877-746-5680 for a free, no-obligation consultation to ensure your rights are protected if you or someone you know has been experiencing a physical reaction to the chemicals within your uniform.