Effective immediately, Senate Bill (SB) 1159 is a new California law that establishes presumptions about workers’ compensation benefits for employees who contract COVID-19.  This article explains in a series of questions and answers what employers need to know about workers’ compensation under this new law if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
Continue Reading Mother of All Presumptions 2.0: Expanding Workers Compensation Benefits to Employees That Test Positive for COVID-19

On May 6, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20 (the “Order”), which states employees that test positive for COVID-19 are presumed to have contracted the virus in the course of employment for purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits, if certain requirements are met.
Continue Reading Mother of Presumptions: Employees With COVID-19 Presumed to Have Contracted Virus From Exposure at Work

While essential workers continue to make their way into the office amid the pandemic, many other Californians have been ordered to shelter in place.  At first blush, non-essential businesses may view this as leading to a decrease in workers’ compensation claims because they no longer have employees physically reporting to the office.  There could be a decrease in claims for businesses that are closed or have reduced their workforce, which appears to be part of the reason for Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s Order of April 13, 2020, requiring that some insurers refund premiums.  However, essential businesses to which employees still report to work and non-essential businesses that require employees to work from home may not see a decrease and could experience an uptick in workers’ compensation claims.
Continue Reading Workers’ Compensation Claims During the Pandemic and Mitigating the Risk

The California Court of Appeal recently held that employees’ workers’ compensation decisions barred them from pursuing similar claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) based on the doctrine of res judicata. 
Continue Reading Correctional Officers FEHA Claims are Barred by Res Judicata for Already Adjudicated Workers’ Compensation Cases

A recent ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals underscores the Federal Arbitration Act’s (“FAA”) strong policy favoring enforcement of arbitration agreements—even in the insurance industry and despite federal policy generally favoring state regulation of the business of insurance. 
Continue Reading New York’s Highest Court Enforces Arbitration Provision in California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Agreement, Rejecting McCarran-Ferguson “Reverse Preemption”

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has finalized regulations requiring all employers within the state of California to post a new "Notice to Employees- Injuries Caused by Work." This notice must be posted in a conspicuous location frequented by all employees by October 8, 2010. The notice should include: the name of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, how to get medical treatment, emergency phone numbers, the types of illnesses and injuries covered by workers’ compensation, advice that the employer may not be responsible for certain injuries, the employee’s right to receive medical care and the right to designate a physician, the right of the employee to receive disability benefits, to whom the injuries should be reported, the time limits for employer-notification, protections against discrimination, the location and phone numbers of the nearest information or assistance officers, and a description of Medical Provider Networks (MPNs). In addition to the notice, employers must distribute a new "Your Rights to Workers’ Compensation Benefits" pamphlet.


Continue Reading Updates to Workers’ Compensation Posting Requirements

Generally, employers are required under the California Labor Code to carry workers’ compensation insurance to pay for any work-related injuries to their employees.  Employers who do not carry such insurance may be liable to the employee for his or her injuries, as well as for penalties and other sanctions for failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance.  There is an exception under the Labor Code (the "Owner Exemption") for workers who are hired by the owner or occupant of a residential dwelling to perform work that is "incidental to the ownership, maintenance, or use of the dwelling, including the care and supervision of children, or whose duties are personal and not in the course of the trade, business, or occupation of the owner or occupant."  Under such circumstances, the owner is not liable to a worker for his or her injuries if the worker worked less than 52 hours or earned less than $100 from the owner in the 90 days preceding the injury.
Continue Reading Employers Should Ensure All Contractors Carry The Appropriate Licenses and Workers’ Compensation Insurance

On April 19, 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 899, enacting emergency legislation to reform California’s workers’ compensation system. Recently a California appeals court ruled that this emergency legislation, and particularly the apportionment provisions of this legislation, can be applied in workers’ compensation cases that are not yet final. Marsh v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
Continue Reading April 2004 Workers’ Compensation Apportionment Provisions Apply To Workers’ Compensation Cases That Are Not Yet Final