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Okla.: Workers’ Compensation Law Upheld by State’s High Court

By Rita Zeidner  2/19/2014
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The Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to the state’s new worker’s compensation law Dec. 16, 2013, letting stand a measure passed in May 2013 that dramatically changed how injured workers in the state are to be compensated.

Among other things, the law changes the state’s court-based workers’ compensation to an administrative one.

The state’s reforms attracted nationwide attention for allowing employers to adopt an employee injury benefit plan as an alternative to mandated benefits typically provided through the state's workers comp system.

The lawsuit was filed by the Professional Fire Fighters of Oklahoma, state Sen. Harry E. Coates, R-Seminole and state Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman.

Plaintiffs claimed some of the new law’s provisions violated due process because they are overly broad and eliminate workers' access to court remedies.

The new law went into effect Feb. 1, 2014

Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. May Fallin championed the measure, claiming it will reduce costs for employers.

Coates v. Fallin, Okla., Case No. 112167 (Dec. 16, 2013).

Rita Zeidner is a freelance business writer and former senior writer for HR Magazine.

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