The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Scalded worker denied workers’ comp

Jan 8, 2007

A 16-year-old worker at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Ohio was severely burned over his lower body while cleaning equipment. KFC denied his claim to workers’ compensation and took it to the Ohio Supreme Court.

KFC claimed that at the moment the worker disobeyed a safety label on the equipment, the worker had “abandoned” his job – that is, actually quit – and therefore was not technically employed when he was scalded! Therefore KFC was not liable!

And the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio AGREED with this b.s.!

Never mind that the law was specifically written to reject that sort of argument, made by rapacious employers of two centuries ago. As one dissenting Supreme Court justice wrote, “Our workers’ compensation laws do not permit the introduction of fault.”

But legal words on legal paper count for nothing, in these times, when corporate power is the only power exerting itself in society.

Using the Ohio precedent, every boss will now try to deny compensation to any injured worker, merely by claiming that the worker violated some written rule. Of course, the bosses will keep stacks and stacks of written rules to cover their butts, while demanding that workers work dangerously day in and day out, under threat of being fired if they don’t use shortcuts.

The KFC worker’s case is no exception. Any and every law that supposedly protects workers is in the process of being overruled out of existence. It will go on like this until the working class comes forth and once again asserts its collective power, in as many ways as possible, to throw back the bosses’ offensive.