California employers are obligated to maintain workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries arising out of the course and scope of employment. At the same time, however, it is critically important for employers to develop a broad strategy for anticipating and containing the risk of work-related injuries and illnesses.
For example, employers need to have well-drafted and thorough health and safety policies as well as injury and illness prevention and other hazard identification and prevention programs. Similarly, it is important for employer to have proper management procedures relating to issues such as claim reporting and response, light duty work, leaves of absence and return-to-work.
The Overlap of Workers’ Compensation with Other Discrimination and Leave of Absence Laws
Moreover, given the complex web of various federal, state and local employment and related leave of absence laws which often overlap California’s workers’ compensation laws (e.g., Family Medical Leave Act, California Family Rights Act, disability accommodation and other anti-discrimination laws, short and long-term disability, unemployment, etc.), it is vital that employers ensure their managers receive proper training to understand and identify the circumstances which trigger the application of these laws in the context of an employee who has suffered a work-related injury.
Accordingly, employers who fail to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for anticipating and controlling risks relating to workplace injuries and illnesses runs the risk of increased claims, rising insurance premiums and legal exposure to numerous other employment-related claims.
What Can We Do to Help Protect Your Company?
At Miller Legal Group, P.C., we draft and review relevant health and safety provisions in employee handbooks, written workplace safety rules, injury and illness prevention programs (IIPP) and other related workplace hazard identification and prevention programs in compliance with applicable law. We also review management’s protocols for claims reporting and response and, in the event of an actual work-related injury or illness, we counsel employers regarding the development and implementation of an effective procedure for handling and monitoring a resulting claim so as to avoid or minimize the risk of additional claims, including claims of alleged discrimination and retaliation, failure to reinstate employee to the same or a similar position, and failure to engage in the interactive process or to provide reasonable accommodation.
To this end, we also counsel employers about the myriad of overlapping issues associated with employee absences from work and their subsequent efforts to return to the workplace, including assessing an employee’s purported abilities, limitations and restrictions and available options in response to doctors’ recommendations and/or employee requests for accommodation.
In addition to the foregoing, we defend companies who:
- Fail to secure workers’ compensation insurance
- Find themselves the subject of claims for which there often is no insurance coverage, including:
- Claims of discrimination and retaliation pursuant to California Labor Code, Section 132a
- Claims of alleged “serious and willful” misconduct pursuant to California Labor Code, Section 4553.
Likewise, when appropriate and consistent with business objectives, we work to timely negotiate a full and final resolution of both workers’ compensation claims as well as any other work-related claims, including taking the necessary measures to secure approval of such settlement agreements from the appropriate administrative authorities.
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Contact a Los Angeles and Orange County Workers Compensation Defense Lawyer
To learn more about our other practice areas, our non-traditional billing arrangements, or to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Los Angeles workers compensation defense attorney at Miller Legal Group, P.C., please contact us at our El Segundo employment law firm by e-mail or by telephone at (310) 426-2650.