Judge puts halt to Illinois work comp rule for essential employees

(The Center Square) – A Sangamon County Judge has granted a temporary restraining order halting a state edict that assumed any essential worker who came down with COVID-19 got it from their workplace.

In a release from the plaintiffs, Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John M. Madonia issued the order Thursday afternoon following a lawsuit filed by a consortium of more than two dozen business organizations earlier this week.

Two of the plaintiffs are the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

The emergency rule filed by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission changed provisions under the Workers’ Compensation Act that made it difficult for an employer to prove that one of their employees, should they have been deemed essential under one of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive orders, may have contracted COVID-19 anywhere but the workplace. This assumption, the plaintiffs said earlier this week, represented a major shift in workers compensation policy.

The plaintiffs also questioned whether the emergency rule change was legal under the Open Meetings Act, saying they didn’t allow enough time before convening and enacting the change.

Comment on the restraining order from the commission was not immediately available.

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