New Study Says Injured U.S. Soldiers and Civilians Shortchanged Under Integrated War Labor Model

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Michael H. LeRoy, Professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations and the College of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has released a new study: “The New War Labor Paradigm: Civilians Who Work Like Soldiers and Soldiers Who Work Like Civilians— How to Compensate for Death And Injuries?

Professor LeRoy explores the growing mixture in war zones of civilian employees of private military firms and soldiers of the military service and examines the legal remedies that are available for soldiers and their civilian counterparts who are injured or killed in war zones. He identifies those tort claims and workers’ compensation claims filed by both civilian employees and military personnel against private military firms and examines the outcomes of such litigation.

Although he finds it promising that courts have been surprisingly willing to reject the immunity defenses asserted by private military firms and allow trials, he still believes policymakers need to build a system that better compensates and addresses the claims of the civilian employees and uniformed military personnel. As stated by Professor LeRoy:

"The fact that they are fighting a war in a distant corner of the world is no reason to shortchange them. When private companies seek to profit by directing this employment and service, the veil of government immunity should be removed— or at least curtailed. The present system imposes disproportionate costs on severely injured workers and soldiers, and their survivors. The lack of accountability for negligence, recklessness, intentional injury, and severe discrimination is at odds with military principles of discipline and order. In sum, the deaths and injuries that are at the heart of this study expose the shortcomings of the private military force strategy. As such, they also offer valuable lessons for improving this integrated war labor model."

Download and read Professor LeRoy’s study, “The New War Labor Paradigm: Civilians Who Work Like Soldiers and Soldiers Who Work Like Civilians— How to Compensate for Death And Injuries?