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What Are My Rights as an Essential Worker?

Published on May 15th, 2020 by The Illinois Hammer Injury Law Firm

What Are My Rights as an Essential Worker?

Filing a Claim

One of your first rights as an Essential Worker is filing a claim. An Essential Worker has the right to file and open a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission for your work-related injury or illness. It is extremely important you report your work-related injury or illness to your employer immediately. This is done to satisfy the notice requirement per Illinois state law. You also have the right to proceed with your claim Pro Se (self-representation) or obtain legal counsel to assist you throughout the duration of your claim.

Medical Treatment

Pursuing reasonable medical treatment that is necessary and related to recover from the effects of COVID-19 is also an Essential Workers’ right. Additionally, you have the right to medical confidentiality and privacy. An Essential worker has the right to choose the provider and/or medical facility that renders proper treatment. However, you may be limited on the number of providers and/or medical facilities from which you seek treatment.


Generally, an Essential Worker has the right to return to their job. This occurs when they are released to return to work by their treating physician. An employer may not force an Essential Worker to return to work if they have not been medically cleared. Furthermore, an Essential Worker cannot be terminated for filing and opening a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

A Formal Hearing

The right to request a formal hearing in front of the assigned Arbitrator is another right of the Essential Worker. Additionally, they have the right to appeal the Arbitrator’s decision if they do not agree with the decision. Although you may pursue your hearing or appeal Pro Se, these steps of litigation can be complex so it may be in an Essential Workers’ best interest to obtain legal counsel before proceeding.

Denied Rights

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission was created to empower all workers, including Essential Workers. If an Essential Workers’ rights are denied, seeking legal council from a well-established Workers’ Compensation Law Firm may be necessary. The Illinois Hammer Injury Law Firm offers free case assessments, so all workers have the chance to better understand their rights, including what benefits and money they are entitled to.


If you are an Essential Worker that was diagnosed with Covid-19 and put on a ventilator, you may be entitled to significant financial recovery. This includes covering the cost of medical bills. If your loved one was an Essential Worker and died of Covid-19, you may be entitled to financial assistance for burial costs, medical bills, a large settlement, and more. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for more information.

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