NCLEJ Ensures that Workers Compensation Hearings are Open to the Public

NCLEJ has secured a significant victory toward making the New York State Workers Compensation Board more responsive to low-wage workers with limited English proficiency. Worker Centers, which advocate for low-wage workers, many of whom are in service and agriculture jobs, have complained that the Workers Compensation system is skewed against these workers, often denying them adequate interpretation services.

Dodyk Fellow/Staff Attorney Leah Lotto and Staff Attorney Katie Deabler have organized a project, staffed by NCLEJ interns, volunteers, and advocates from partner organizations, to monitor Workers Compensation hearings and to plan for appropriate systemic reforms through policy advocacy and, if necessary, impact litigation.

Marking one of the first successes of this project, Katie enforced a New York State requirement that all Workers Compensation hearings be open to the public after NCLEJ advocates were denied admittance. As part of the relief, all Workers Compensation Law Judges will be trained on the open hearings law and NCLEJ will have a direct contact if a judge refuses access.