The Connecticut Board of Labor Relations accused Bridgeport of acting in bad faith toward injured police officers. According to the Connecticut Post, the city owes money to more than 100 police officers for underpaying on workers’ compensation claims.
Salary supplement provided injured officers more compensation
A salary supplement was added to Bridgeport police officers’ contracts, and problems started. For officers injured on the job, the supplement provided close to a full salary, rather than just a portion of their wages. Most workers’ compensation policies only pay out a percentage of an injured worker’s pay. The city claimed the salary supplement agreement was unclear, and officials were not sure what to pay injured officers.
Police union tried to address pay issues
In 2015, the police union talked to then Mayor Bill Finch’s administration about concerns the city was not paying these supplements correctly. The issue seemed settled to everyone’s satisfaction. However, when a new mayor was elected, he implemented staff changes in the Office of Labor Relations.
With staff changes, problems with workers’ compensation pay continued. Police union president Chuck Paris stated his group kept trying to explain the salary supplement formula to city officials. However, the city did not seem to understand. As a result, some officers did not receive the correct workers’ compensation pay. Some also received no supplemental pay at all.
Labor board accused the city of “absurd” payment structure
In its recent ruling, the Connecticut Board of Labor Relations disagreed with the city’s claim that the salary supplement language was unclear. The board said the calculation was clearly stated. It also called the city’s approach to paying workers’ comp absurd.
The labor board also criticized Bridgeport officials for being remarkably slow to answer questions. It took the city took 15 months to reveal how they calculated workers’ compensation payments.
Underpaid officers will receive their due
The city is now using the police union’s calculation for the supplemental salary payments. Dating back to 2015, police officers who were underpaid will receive back pay from Bridgeport.
Workers’ compensation benefits cover medical expenses for injured workers. These expenses may include doctor visits, hospital bills and physical therapy. A portion of your salary is also paid out while you recover from your injury. However, some employers may try to underpay benefits or even deny a claim. If you were injured on the job, you have the legal right to compensation for your injuries.