If an injured worker feels he isn’t getting the medical treatment or benefits that he has a right to, he can request a hearing from the NC Industrial Commission. An employer can request a hearing too, if it thinks that one of its workers is getting benefits he doesn’t deserve. The judges at the Industrial Commission, called Deputy Commissioners, are covered by the State Personnel Act. That means that as long as they work hard and apply the law fairly, they can stay in their jobs.
But a new bill passed by the General Assembly will change all that if it becomes law. House Bill 74 provides that as of July 1, 2015, those judges will no longer be covered by the State Personnel Act and can be fired for any reason, even a bad reason, with no recourse whatsoever.
If this bill becomes law, it means that from now on, your workers’ compensation judge just may be thinking about what will happen to her job if she rules against an employer, if that employer is a contributor to the campaign of the governor who happens to be in power at that time. Or if she rules against someone who is a friend of her boss, the Chair of the North Carolina Industrial Commission.