WORKERS COMPENSATION COVID CASES – SALITA FEATURED IN THE STAR TRIBUNE
The article reports on the largest ever fine to a Minnesota employer regarding workplace safety violations targeted at Covid-19.
Sholom Community Alliance, a local nursing home, has been fined $27,100 in regard to the death of David Kolleh who was the manager of the memory care unit at the facility. The fine was based on the failure of the facility to provide proper medical evaluations and safety equipment for employees working in the midst of Covid-19 infections.
Dean Salita is recognized both nationally and within Minnesota for his work as Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Committee of the Minnesota Association for Justice. He has been dubbed a ‘Super Lawyer’ and maintains the highest rating of AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell.
In the Star Tribune article, Dean says he could only remember a few other cases before the pandemic hit where the Minnesota Occupational and Safety and Health Association (MNOSHA) issued fines as steep as the penalties Sholom paid after Kolleh’s death. “It just doesn’t happen very often,” Salita said. “I think [the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry] and OSHA are on high alert to keep things safe, frankly…This will wake up employers to be even safer, if they can.”
It should be noted that the Minnesota legislature recently extended the provisions of a temporary law that was passed last year adopting a legal presumption in workers’ compensation cases that first responders and healthcare providers who contracted Covid-19 had done so because of work related exposure. In the absence of this legislation, any employee contracting Covid-19 would have the burden of proving that they contracted the viral disease while on the job, something that is quite difficult to prove. Dean Salita was very active in lobbying the legislature for these changes.
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has reported that as of December 23, 2020, over 15,000 claims for Covid-related Worker’s Compensation have been filed with the state. Studies show that approximately 82% of the Covid-related workers’ compensation filings were for first responders and frontline health workers, despite making up a much smaller percentage of the Minnesota workforce.
The full Star Tribune article can be read here. We thank Dean for his continuous leadership and support on behalf of the hardworking women and men of Minnesota.