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SB-899 Workers’ compensation.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/26/2018 09:00 PM
SB899:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 26, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  March 07, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 899


Introduced by Senator Bradford Pan

January 16, 2018


An act to add Section 4665 to the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 899, as amended, Bradford Pan. Workers’ compensation.
Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system, administered by the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of his or her employment.
Existing law makes an employer liable only for the percentage of permanent disability directly caused by the injury arising out of and occurring in the course of employment. Existing law also requires that apportionment of permanent disability be based on causation and requires a physician who prepares a report addressing the issue of permanent disability due to a claimed industrial injury to address in that report the issue of causation of the permanent disability.
In City of Jackson v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 109, the court of appeal found that the law governing apportionment of disability permits the determination of causation to include “heritability and genetics,” which may result in the reduction of an individual worker’s benefits due to his or her heredity or genetic makeup.
This bill would set forth a statement of legislative findings and declarations stating, among other things, that the City of Jackson decision is an abhorrent decision that violates legal norms, undermines legislative intent, and abuses the dignity of injured workers. The bill would express the intent of the Legislature to abrogate the decision and affirm prior decisions prohibiting apportionment of disability to immutable factors. The bill would also express the intent of the Legislature that these provisions do not prohibit apportionment of disability to specific identifiable factors.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 4665 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

4665.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) In City of Jackson v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 109 (hereafter City of Jackson), (hereafter, “City of Jackson”), the court of appeal found that the law governing apportionment of disability permits the determination of causation to include “heritability and genetics,” which may result in the reduction of an individual worker’s benefits due to his or her heredity or genetic makeup. In contrast, a prior decision in Rice v. City of Jackson (2015) 2015 WL 575174 (Cal. W.C.A.B.) (hereafter Rice) (hereafter, “Rice”), prohibited apportionment of disability to immutable factors while also referring to “proper apportionment” of disability to “specific identifiable factors.”
(b) The City of Jackson decision effectively legalizes discrimination on the basis of genetics and heritability, including race, gender, and religion, creating disparate impacts in the form of reduced permanent disability benefits to injured workers.
(c) The Legislature has consistently prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, and genetics in employment and governmental benefits.
(d) The City of Jackson decision is an abhorrent decision that violates legal norms, undermines legislative intent, and abuses the dignity of injured workers.
(e) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this subdivision to abrogate the decision in City of Jackson and to affirm prior administrative and judicial decisions, including Rice, prohibiting apportionment of disability to immutable factors. It is also the intent of the Legislature that this subdivision does not prohibit apportionment of disability to specific identifiable factors.