Congressional Candidate in Long-running Dispute Over Worker’s Comp

A campaign worker on Republican congressional candidate Matt Doheny’s 2010 and 2012 campaigns alleges Doheny “is stalling” the hearing of a disputed workers compensation claim, related with injuries she received in a February 2012 motor vehicle accident while traveling to a campaign event.

Alicia E. Sirk, who was Doheny’s deputy campaign manager, said she continues to have chronic pain from back, neck and arm injuries she received when her vehicle fishtailed and flipped over on an icy road when she was en route from Plattsburgh to Cape Vincent to coordinate a morning “Doughnuts with Doheny” event. Mrs. Sirk continued working for the Doheny campaign until the summer of 2012, but maintains that her injuries left her unable to perform full-time work since then.

The case centers around whether Sirk was an employee or an independent contractor. An administrative law judge in a separate Department of Labor Hearing determined in March 2013 that Sirk was an employee, and Sirk and the campaign reached a compromise settlement on back wages.

Under the Workers’ Compensation Law (WCL), most individuals providing services to a for-profit business will be deemed an employee of that business and therefore must be covered by the employer for workers’ compensation insurance. This applies unless those services are specifically excluded as employment under the WCL. For workers’ compensation insurance purposes, the term employee generally includes day labor, leased employees, borrowed employees, part-time employees, unpaid volunteers (including family members) and most subcontractors. Additionally, if you are in a car accident while driving or riding in a car for work-related reasons away from your workplace, in New York State, you may also be covered by workers compensation.

David M. Catalfamo, a spokesman for Mr. Doheny, said Mrs. Sirk was fired in July 2012 and has brought several legal actions against the campaign in the ensuing years, including a wage and labor dispute that Mr. Doheny settled. He characterized the recent claim as an attempt to derail Mr. Doheny’s current campaign and connected Mrs. Sirk with Mr. Doheny’s 2014 primary opponent, Elise M. Stefanik.

Although the outcome of this case is unclear, one thing is for sure, if you are an employee, you have right a to worker’s compensation if injured while on the job. If you believe that your employer has purposefully misclassified your employment status to avoid worker’s compensation, or if you are an employee and have a worker’s compensation claim, contact an experienced attorney. A skilled employment attorney will afford you the representation you deserve and ensure your legal rights are protected.

The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP handles workers’ compensation claims throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, in addition to both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Call (866) 557-7500 for a consultation.

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