The Hutterites are a religious organization that has colonies spread across our country and the world. There are colonies located in Oregon and other northwestern states. Recently, the highest court in another state ruled that the organization was required to pay for workers' compensation because it had entered into the construction business.
The workers' compensation ruling came after members of Hutterite colonies worked in another state in the construction industry. According to the lawsuit, it was difficult for some businesses to compete with the religious organization due to its low bidding on jobs. These low bids were offered because of the rules of the Hutterites that say that members have few, if any, personal possessions and do not accept wages for work performed.
The religious group argued that it should not have to pay for the workers' compensation insurance required for other employers. However, the court disagreed, holding that because of the involvement in the business community, the organization had to offer the workers' compensation benefits to its members. The court did note that the workers did not have to make claims if they were injured, and they were able to share any benefit payments made as a result of an on-the-job injury.
As many of our readers know, workers' compensation insurance is intended to assist those who have suffered injury or illness while on the job. When a person suffers such an injury in Oregon, they are able to make a claim and can begin to receive benefit payments intended to help them make ends meet as they recover. If a person finds that they need such assistance in our state, they may wish to consider filing a claim.
Source: ABC News, "Court: Hutterites Must Pay Workers' Compensation," Matt Volz, Jan. 1, 2013