Lack of Medical Coverage Spells Trouble for Small Business Owner

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The Korean owner of a Vietnamese restaurant in the South Bay has filed a claim against a former employee on charges that the latter made false accusations regarding a work related injury, reports the Korea Times.

According to Mr. Heo, the owner of the eatery, a Hispanic employee who spilled hot soup on himself less than a month after being hired, later told police officers that Heo had intentionally caused the accident and that he was in the country illegally.

Heo, who is in fact a legal resident, denied the first claim, adding that this was the first time he’d encountered such an issue since he opened the restaurant in 2004.

Heo runs his business on a shoestring budget, he told the paper, and therefore cannot afford to pay for medical insurance for his employees. He noted that this may have been what promoted the injured worker to file false claims against him, motivated by the opportunity to win greater monetary compensation.

Hospital bills for the employee came close to $120,000, which Heo had agreed to cover.

“The case against me was dismissed in court due to lack of evidence,” Heo told the Korea Times. “The state agreed to assist me with the medical costs, but I was forced to close my business for two weeks and my family went through a lot of grief because of this case.”

The report also notes that in cases such as this one, not offering medical coverage to employees can sometimes lead to the closure of one’s business.