Newly signed legislation makes it easier and faster for employees to obtain workers compensation benefits for contracting COVID-19. The statutes, which went into effect on Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing of SB 1159 on September 17, 2020, impose important new obligations on employers.

The legislation provides that a “disputable presumption” will arise in certain circumstances that

Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on May 6, 2020 that creates a rebuttable presumption that employees working outside the home who contract COVID-19 became infected at work. They would therefore be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Here’s how the presumption works. An employee will be presumed to have contracted the virus at work

One issue that consistently trips up employers is the interplay of laws for an employee with work-related medical issues.  This is sometimes referred to as the Bermuda Triangle of workers’ compensation, ADA/FEHA (disability), and FMLA/CFRA. 

Quite often an employee is injured, a workers’ compensation claim is opened, and the employer somehow forgets the other two

The goal of settlement from a defense perspective is to avoid the risks, disruptions, and expense of further litigation.  So what if you, the employer, settle claims with a plaintiff who takes the money but pursues further claims against you.  That would be, in technical legal jargon, "really bad."

One way this could happen is where the settlement attempts to resolve both civil litigation and pending