Gino DiCaro

Workers’ comp apportionment bill will erode major cornerstone of previous reforms

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, June 17, 2011 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

AB 1155 (Luis Alejo, D-Salinas), which undermines apportionment in the workers’ compensation system, was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee three to two along party lines.  Although CMTA offered sensible amendments that would clarify existing law, Democrat Senators, unfortunately and erroneously, insisted the bill is necessary to avoid discrimination and that the bill in its current form makes existing law clear.

Apportionment is the concept that an employer should only be liable for the amount of permanent disability that was caused by an industrial injury or illness that occurred in the course and scope of employment.

AB 1155 would add the following to the labor code:

    “Race, religious creed, color, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, or genetic characteristics shall not be considered a cause or other factor of disability with regard to any determination made under this section.”

CMTA asked to strike the words “cause or other” in the above to make it clear that protected classes cannot be considered “factors” of disability.

If AB 1155 passes it will create confusion and increase litigation because any disability or pre-existing condition that has a correlation to a protected class would be deemed a cause of the disability and therefore disputed.  Employers may end up paying for disabilities that do not arise from work.

AB 1155 will now be heard in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.  Because this bill is being considered as a civil rights issue, it has a good chance of passing. Contact your State Senator today and voice your concern. For talking points or more information contact Cynthia Leon at cleon@cmta.net.

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