RICHLAND, WA - It's easier now for Hanford workers to access worker compensation benefits, thanks to a federal judge who ruled against the U.S Department of Justice.
The DOJ previously asked to overturn Washington law. This ruling means the Hanford workers compensation law which went into effect in 2018 will stay in place.
Before this law, the workers had the responsibility of proving illnesses were work-related, but now this is presumed.
John Swain worked at Hanford for 25 years, and after dealing with the challenges firsthand of trying to get worker compensation benefits he says it's about time someone sides with the workers.
It took Swain a little over three years to get benefits after first being exposed at Hanford.
"The company first said I was one of the most important people out there because I was a worker," says Swain. "Well when you get hurt you get thrown to the gutter."
Swain's struggles included having to prove three of his diagnoses were work-related.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson praised the court's decision, saying, "it was disappointing to see the federal government once again fighting against doing the right thing for the men and women of Hanford."