Significant Illinois Ruling for Routine Overtime Affects Workers’ Comp Awards

The First District Appellate Court of Illinois has made an important ruling for employees who seek workers’ compensation and regularly work overtime hours. In Tower Automotive v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC), the Court found that Tower employee Robert Nawrot was mandated to work overtime in his job. Employees were subject to discipline if they did not do overtime. Overtime hours did vary per week, the appellate court found.

Nawrot worked as a material handler for Tower Automotive and drove a forklift, delivered parts, and loaded and unloaded trucks. After being injured on the job, he sought treatment through the employer’s medical provider. As the months went by his condition worsened and restrictions on work duties ensued. Between December 2005 and late January 2006, he had two surgeries involving a surgical decompression and fusions at C4-C5. By April of 2007, he was released by his doctor and allowed to return to eight hours worth of work. But he was still fighting to get the past workers’ compensation pay due to him.

The court determined that because his weekly pay routinely reflected mandatory overtime hours, his workers’ compensation award should also reflect his overtime pay. The court held that Nawrot should receive $788.66 a week versus the $521.32 base pay. The court further held that any worker who consistently works overtime or is mandated to do so should be compensated at the higher average rate.

And the appellate court found that Nawrot’s injuries were compensable. According to the Workers’ Compensation Act, a worker’s injury is only due compensation if it arises because of the job. The court determined that the medical testimony and reports established that Nawrot’s job duties “aggravated and accelerated his preexisting cervical stenosis, necessitating surgical intervention.” Based upon that finding, the court concluded that “the claimant’s current condition of ill-being arose out of and in the course of his employment with Tower and is causally related thereto.”

Many Illinois employees work overtime consistently, and some work in environments where if they want to keep their job, they must put in more than eight hours. Workers who are injured on the job have legal rights to pursue the workers’ compensation they deserve by contacting a qualified Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.

Robert I. Briskman, Esq. is an accomplished Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer with decades of experience successfully handling an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. The law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg tenaciously goes after a worker’s rights to medical compensation, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and other issues related to work injuries.

Robert Briskman is a Chicago workers compensation attorney and Chicago workers compensation lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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