Workers Comp Zone


Earlier today the California Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee voted in favor of SB 1115, the bill that would ban age, race and gender discrimination in awarding disability compensation to California workers.

The bill will eventually have to make its way through the California Assembly on its way to the governor’s desk.

Among those testifying was Milton Jones of El Cajon. An African-American, Jones had his disability award slashed in half by a doctor who reasoned that since African-Americans have a higher incidence of hypertension, that must have caused one-half of his disability.

If you’re a Costco member you’ve undoubtedly tried their delectable rotisserie chickens. Yum.

Jones served as a relief clerk at Costco, cleaning ovens used to cook the chickens. Using chemical oven cleaners, he developed asthma, hypertension, and bronchitis.

Should he receive half an award on the basis of a race-based theory that his condition was partially “caused” by genetic predisposition as an African-American?

Should a Swedish-American who becomes depressed over events at work in the wintertime receive less because Nordic peoples seem to be susceptible to seasonal affective disorders?

Workers’ compensation should be about individuals, not about stereotyping.

Few will admit it publicly, but a number of insurance defense attorneys have told me privately that they are uncomfortable with the race, gender and age based apportionment stereotyping that is coming into vogue under SB 899.

Thanks should go to State Senator Carole Migden for her hard work on this bill. Workerscompzone will keep following its progress.

Julius Young

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Category: Political developments