Labor Day is one of the most celebrated holidays in American history. It is a day when people are given a vacation from school and work and it is the unofficial end of summer holiday. However, this day is steeped in tradition that many people do not know about. Labor Day has direct ties to workers’ compensation. Read on to learn more about the history of Labor Day and workers’ compensation. Find out how you can hire a workers’ compensation attorney for your legal needs.
Labor Day History
Labor Day was a day designated by the labor unions in New York City during the 1880’s. On Tuesday, September 5, 1882 all the union leaders in New York gathered to have a parade in the city to show a unified front, rallying for a day that belonged to the working people. The parade attracted 10,000 workers that forewent one day of pay to march in the festival.
The Unions were inspired by the Knights of Labor, one of the largest labor unions in the city at the time. They were holding a conference on the first Monday in September and union leaders wanted to organize their event on the same day of the conference to attract workers.
Although the festival began in New York, it was Oregon that made the day a holiday in 1887. President Grover Cleveland declared the day a national holiday in 1896. This was approximately fourteen years after its inception.
Workers’ Comp Insurance
Prior to the creation of workers’ comp insurance, workers could be held responsible for their own injuries. If they decided to sue their employer, the employer could claim one of three defenses to get themselves off the hook. One of these defenses was assumption of risk. This defense meant that employees knew the dangers of the job and agreed to them upon signing an employment contract. Oftentimes, there were clauses in the contract that prevented workers from suing.
The second defense was contributory negligence. If the employee assumed any fault for the accident, the employer could not be sued. The last defense was the fellow servant rule. Employees could not sue their employer if a coworker was responsible for their injuries.
Things began to change once journalist Upton Sinclair released his book, The Jungle. The exposure of horrific work conditions inspired Congress to pass the Employer’s Liability Act in 1906. It was the first step in the right direction, but the Act did not solve employees’ concerns regarding protection.
It wasn’t until 1911 when Wisconsin passed the workers’ comp law, that employees began getting full compensation for their injuries.
Workers’ Comp Today
The Workers’ compensation system has evolved tremendously throughout the years. Today, all employers are required to have insurance and all states offer programs that provide assistance to those injured at work. However, rules and regulations revolving these programs and employer insurance vary.
Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you live in the Colorado Springs area and you are going through an injury dispute with your employer, it is in your best interest to find a workers’ compensation attorney. The lawyers at Heuser and Heuser will help you learn about your rights in Colorado state. Our lawyers have decades of experience in workers’ comp disputes and we can help you make the process of a workers’ compensation case much easier and less confusing.