Do we have any recourse with our employer for making us work in the dark?

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Do we have any recourse with our employer for making us work in the dark?

Our employer refuses to let us turn the lights completely on in the office. About half of the lights remain off, and several employees have complained of eye strain, headaches, etc. to no avail. Management has said that that is the way it is, and if we want more light we should bring in a lamp from home.

Asked on February 26, 2014 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You may have recourse: if you have suffered any actual illness or injury (e.g. eyestrain damaging your vision; chronic headaches) or medical costs (e.g. opthamalogist visits), you may be able to either put in a claim for workers compensation or, if there is no worker's comp coverage, sue your employer for compensation. Or if anyone suffers an acute injury (like tripping in the dark and breaking a bone), that could give rise to a worker's compensation claim or lawsuit. The big issue is whether you have actual physical injury, not just discomfort, that would support a claim; and whether the amount of compensation you could receive (which is related to the extent/serverity of the harm) is enough to justify legal action. You may wish to meet with an employment law attorney to discuss options in greater detail.


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