California Senate OKs Changes to Workers’ Compensation Benefits
On Monday, the California Senate voted 23-13 to approve a bill by Sen. Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) that would prohibit doctors from considering age, race or genetic factors when setting workers' compensation benefits, the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Supporters of the bill maintain that workers' compensation reforms promoted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and employers in 2004 opened the door to discrimination in workers' comp awards based on employees' age, race, gender, national origin or genetic predispositions.
The reforms require physicians to assess other factors besides a job-related injury that contributed to an employee's disability. Benefits can be reduced if a doctor determines that an earlier injury or pre-existing condition contributed to the disability.
Opponents of the measure say employees could be unfairly charged for the portion of a disability not caused by a job-related injury.
The state Assembly now will consider the measure (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/10).