Discrimination Protection Extended to Workers’ Comp
On Monday, a state appeals court ruled that workers' disability benefits for job-related injuries are protected by California's anti-discrimination laws, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Under the ruling, insurers and physicians cannot use age, race or gender in determining permanent disability awards.
The three-judge panel did not opt to make the decision precedent-setting, but the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board could do so after it reconsiders the case. `
The ruling does not affect a workers' compensation rule that links medical risk factors with the amount paid to injured workers. The provision was signed into law in 2004 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
The State Compensation Insurance Fund and Los Angeles County argued in the case that employers and insurers should have to pay to cover only the portion of the disability caused by the workplace injury.
However, advocacy groups for injured workers contend that the law has reduced disability benefits by more than half. The Schwarzenegger administration has acknowledged the benefit cuts and pledged to revise the formula, but no deadline has been set.
Sabrina Lockhart, spokesperson for the governor, said the administration is reviewing the recent court ruling (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 12/4).