The Pound Institute for Civil Justice, Rutgers Center for Risk and Responsibility, and Northeastern University School of Law are sponsoring a conference on The Demise of the Grand Bargain: Workplace Injuries in the 21st Century Sept. 23, 2016, at Rutgers Law School in Camden, New Jersey.
The “Grand Bargain” that created workers’ compensation systems was one of the great political compromises of the Progressive Era: workers injured on the job gave up the right to sue their employers for personal injury damages in return for less generous but more certain benefits through workers’ compensation systems. Over the past 25 years, attacks on the Grand Bargain have escalated. Most recently, a politically powerful coalition has proposed further constraints on benefits through implementation of “opt-out” systems, which allow employers to substitute self-designed and self-implemented programs for the traditional statutory system. Remedies have become so constricted in some states that courts have questioned whether a quid pro quo still supports the Grand Bargain. This conference will re-examine The Grand Bargain in light of evolving legal doctrine, a changed labor market, and changing politics.