Getting hurt on the job SUCKS, in all caps. You know that you’re going to have to take time off, and missing days from work is going to put you behind. As someone who prides themselves on taking care of business, having to stay home twiddling your thumbs puts you on edge.
You promise your boss that you’re not going to be out for too long; you promise that you’re going to do everything it takes to get back in the office. And you do it. You’re back in the office after a couple of days with your doctor’s note in hand.
A week passes by and a fellow employee gets hurt the same way you did, or so they say. This employee has been known to exaggerate the truth, and you wonder whether they really fell down at work and sprained their wrist, or, (and you hate to think this) did they get the injured when they went out jet skiing the weekend before? They described to in detail about their “gnarly wipeout,” who is to say their sprained wrist and the watersport weekend aren’t related?
You don’t feel good about questioning your peer, but you have a hard time believing they fell the same way and in the same spot as you did. What are the chances of that happening?
What’s the Cost of Fraud?
People lie. It’s a sad reality, but it is the truth. As of 2006, workers’ compensation fraud cost a total of $5 billion a year. Businesses lose valuable work time, insurance premiums rise and meanwhile, the lying employee basically gets paid vacation time to loaf around at home.
For the employees who commit the fraud, hanging out and getting paid to do nothing is clearly more than enticing. They don’t care if their absence causes you to lose business with clients or if your business gets accused of fraud by your insurance company. All the liar cares about is getting their check.
Workers’ compensation insurance is a requirement in several states. Unless your company is numbered at five employees or less, you are required by law to purchase workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation covers the medical expenses and lost income of the injured party. An employee can only get workers’ compensation benefits if they are hurt on the job. If they are hurt in their free time, then it’s their responsible to pay their hospital bills and use their own private insurance. For the tricksters, they’ll do what they can to use their work’s insurance, the workers’ compensation package YOU pay for.
Not only is it immoral to lie about a work injury, it also costs the company money. When a claim is filed, chances are the insurance premium will go up. If the claim is substantial, the premium will go way up. If it is learned that workers’ compensation fraud was committed, there are hefty penalties to pay:
- Monetary fines
- Jail time—1 year for a misdemeanor conviction
- Prison time—30 years for a felony conviction
Other penalties include paying for lawyer’s fees, getting fired from the job and showing your family that you are an unscrupulous person. Forget trying to get another job after being found guilty of making fraudulent workers’ compensation claims; no company will want someone who went out of their way to milk the company they worked for all they had. In effect, lying to get workers’ compensation benefits will only hurt the liar and their family in the end. Is it worth it?
No amount of money is worth one’s integrity. If you believe someone in your company is committing fraud, let your manager know, they’ll thank you.