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Can I file a complaint about the workers' compensation judge?

When a worker in Louisiana suffers workplace injuries or has a health condition caused by employment, it is expected that workers' compensation benefits will be available for lost wages and medical coverage. However, there are sometimes issues with the workers' compensation claim. One issue that can leave a worker wondering what to do next is if there is a problem with the workers' compensation judge. The worker must understand that there are options to complain about any misconduct or disability on the part of the judge.

If there is a complaint that the judge engaged in misconduct or disability in the claim, the director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration of the Louisiana Department of Labor must be informed. The director must receive the complaint in writing with the complainant providing his or her full name and contact information; the name of the judge and the assigned court; a statement that specifies the misconduct the complainant believes took place with all the facts, information, witnesses and rules that were violated; copies of judgments, documents and anything else important to the complaint; and, if there is a specific matter that is pending and it is related to the misconduct, all parties involved must get a copy of the complaint.

Once the director receives the complaint, there will be a preliminary review. If the complaint is based on criticism of the judge's official decision-making or asserts there was a judicial error that is subject to judicial review, or does not provide the requested information, it will be declared frivolous and rejected. If the claim is not deemed frivolous, then the director or a designee will investigate. The judge will receive a copy of the complaint and can provide a written response within 10 days. Within 60 days of getting the complaint from the person seeking workers' compensation, the director will decide on disciplinary action. The complainant can seek other remedies through the law and it is independent of the complaint.

For injured workers, workers' compensation benefits can be a lifeline to function while they are unable to work. However, there are often issues with getting the benefits. If one issue is related to the conduct of the workers' compensation judge, it could be the basis for an appeal. A legal professional who is experienced in workers' compensation may be able to help.

Source: laworks.net, "Title 40 -- Labor and Employment -- Part I. Workers' Compensation Administration -- Subpart 3. Hearing Rules -- 5534. Submission and Investigation of Complaints alleging Judicial Misconduct or Disability," accessed on April 23, 2018

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