Idaho Business Owner Goes to Jail for No Workers Comp

workers compIdaho Man Who Did Not Pay for Workers Comp Coverage for Business Will Serve Jail Time

The owner of a fishing shop in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho served five days in jail, and his business was closed for three days, because he did not pay for workers comp insurance for his business and his employees.

Joe Roope, Jr, owner of Joe Roope’s Castaway Fly Shop, Inc, was ordered by the District Court of Idaho to serve jail time for violating a court order, which prohibited him from operating his business without a workers comp policy in effect for his employees.

“Joe Roope would like to take this opportunity to inform the public we are open for business and healthy as ever,” the company wrote Tuesday in an email statement to The Press. “Time served; insurance in place; open for business.” The fly shop was operated for 28 years.

The Idaho Industrial Commission, the state agency that monitors workers comp insurance for Idaho employees, obtained an injunction against Roope in 2011 for failing to pay for workers comp for his business. His policy had lapsed for 8 months. However, this was not the first time that Roope allowed his workers comp policy to lapse – he had other lapses in 2003 and 2007.

Workers comp insurance is mandatory for any Idaho business that has one or more employees, regardless of whether the employee is full- or part-time.

Employer Retaliation against Workers’ Comp Claim

As an injured worker, you may fear that your employer may retaliate against you for filing and seeking compensation for a workers’ compensation claim. Employees also worry about cooperating in the investigation of and/or testifying in support of an injured co-worker.

Most commonly, people think of workers’ comp retaliation as retaliatory discharge or firing an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Improper retaliation can fall short of termination, such as discrimination or harassment, and may include the following:

  • demotion, negative reassignment, reclassification or transfer;
  • unwarranted disciplinary action and/or negative performance evaluations;
  • wage reductions, salary reductions or a reduction in the number of hours scheduled; or
  • an unreasonable increase or decrease in job duties or responsibilities.

Most states have some legal remedy for injured workers retaliation. The right to sue for workers comp retaliation varies from state to state, so it is a good idea to consult a SC work injury lawyer to protect your rights for workplace injury.

Possible remedies may be available through state agencies and/or in court actions. Even where legislative action has not protected such workers, many state courts have allowed hurt workers to file retaliatory discharge lawsuits if they are retaliated against for seeking compensation for workplace accidents.

Because South Carolina is an at-will state, employers may still legitimately terminate or discipline any employee, regardless of workers’ compensation status.  However, the employer’s reason for the negative action cannot be a pretext for workers’ compensation retaliation and the negative action may not violate any other employment law(s).

The Strom Law Firm Understands Worker’s Comp Legislation

The workers comp lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. We are licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, as well as Georgia and New York. If you are confused about worker’s comp laws, or have had your worker’s comp claim denied, contact us. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800.