In letters to the Tennessee Department of Labor and the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission, the Quebecor World employees alleged that the company refused to file workers' compensation claims, retaliated against workers for filing compensation claims, failed to report injuries, discouraged workers from reporting injuries, and denied workers required treatment providers.
Quebecor World "strongly denies allegations… that it has violated workers' compensation laws. Quebecor World has received no communication from either the State of Tennessee or State of Mississippi relative to its handling of workers' compensation matters," said a statement from the company. Should the states launch inquiries into the issue, the company said it would "cooperate fully and with confidence that our practices meet all state standards."
The six Quebecor workers who contacted state regulatory agencies claim to have incurred numerous medical expenses and lost wages as a result of on-the-job injuries that they maintain the company is obligated by law to pay.
"Quebecor's violations of workers' compensation laws literally add insult to injury," said Richard Finnie who works in Quebecor's Covington, Tenn. plant. Finnie claims he injured his wrist while working as a stacker in the plant's pressroom. After visiting the emergency room, Finnie claims the company refused to abide by his medical restrictions and pressured him to take unpaid leave. According to Finnie, the company did not inform him of his right to file for workers' compensation or follow any of the procedures set forth by the workers' compensation law.
The company says it "has a well-developed safety program that includes the proper handling of workers' compensation matters," adding, "Quebecor World uses the services of leading insurance companies to manage workers' compensation claims. If an injury occurs, an injury report is filed with the insurance company, which investigates the claim and, if accepted, manages the claim through its completion."
That program, said the company, is in effect in all locations, including operations in Tennessee and Mississippi.
The six workers claim otherwise. "It's important to expose this problem so none of our coworkers will have to go through this," says Mary Brawner, a worker at Quebecor's Corinth, Miss. facility. Brawner suffered a workplace injury to her wrist and requested that the company file a worker's compensation claim on her behalf. She believes Quebecor did not file the claim, and asserts that the company has refused to reimburse her for medical expenses she incurred associated with her on-the-job injury. Brawner stated that the company has provided no reason as to why it will not reimburse her for these expenses.
The company claims that all possible workers" compensation matters "are handled in a timely, effective and lawful manner. Under no circumstances does Quebecor World fail to report work related injuries, discourage employees from reporting any work related injury or retaliate against any employee for filing a workers' compensation claim."
OSHA has cited Quebecor World more than 140 times over the past 5 years for unsafe working conditions in its printing plants.