Boxer & Gerson in the News

Assembly Bill 1093, “Taneka’s Law,” passes off Assembly floor.

AB 1093 eliminates ambiguity over the definition of ‘personal relationship’ as the basis for denying a claim for injury or death in the workplace

SACRAMENTO, CA – AB 1093, a bill that would clarify that a workers’ comp claim can not be denied to an employee-victim based solely on a personal characteristic of the victim and a third party’s hatred of that characteristic – such as race, religion, or gender – has passed off the Assembly floor on an 80-0 vote.

“The fact that this bill has not received one single ‘no’ vote speaks to the importance and common sense need for this legislation,” said Assemblymember Mariko Yamada. “The California State Assembly has declared their intent to ensure this kind of hate crime cannot be used to deny a workers’ comp claim.”

State Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) introduced AB 1093 in February in response to the death of Taneka Talley, a 26-year-old African American woman who was stabbed to death in 2006 while working at a Dollar Tree Store in Fairfield. The company’s insurer denied the workers’ compensation death benefits to Ms. Talley’s son, who was 8 years old at the time, claiming that because the perpetrator intended to “kill a black person that day” there was a personal connection between Ms. Talley and her aggressor. Following a public outcry last November and widespread media coverage, Dollar Tree’s insurance company paid death benefits to the family nearly three years after Ms. Talley’s death.

AB 1093 seeks to resolve the vagueness in worker’s comp law that allowed the Dollar Tree’s insurer to initially deny Ms. Talley’s family’s claim. The attorney representing Talley’s family brought the need for legislative action to Assemblymember Yamada’s attention.

“AB 1093 will guarantee that no other California family will have to suffer the dual trauma of losing a loved one and having a benefits claim denied based on one person’s personal hatred of another because of who they are,” stated Yamada.

Assemblymember Yamada represents the state’s 8th District, where the attack on Ms. Talley occurred. Her accused killer, Tommy Joe Thompson of West Sacramento, was tried for murder and convicted in April in Solano County.

AB 1093 now moves to the State Senate for consideration.