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Voters Weigh In on Work-Related Issues

By Adam Dombchik, Esq.

The survey results of California voters were recently released at an educational event sponsored by the California Applicants' Attorneys Association (CAAA), a statewide organization that advocates for injured workers' rights.

Work Related Disability Poll

The poll, performed under the guidance of the David Binder Research Company, asked likely voters questions concerning independent contractors in the workplace, economic segregation in the workplace, and a fuel penalty tax. Workers' Compensation-related questions focused on gender-related issues and medical treatment-related issues.

Regarding gender bias in Workers' Compensation, 58 percent of those polled were generally concerned about the impact of gender bias against women built into the California Workers' Compensation system of benefits.  At an average of 65 percent, voters were concerned about the following statements regarding the administration of Workers' Compensation benefits:

  • The Workers' Compensation System provides lower benefits to women who are pregnant when they get injured at work. 
  • In the Workers' Compensation System, the average disability compensation for prostate cancer in men is much higher then the average disability compensation for breast cancer in women.
  • The Workers' Compensation System provides lower benefits to women going through menopause even though women have a 50 percent higher injury rate than men doing the same jobs.
  • The Workers' Compensation System provides lower benefits to women with osteoporosis, ignoring the fact that this condition is predominantly female. 

Further, the survey found that 66 percent of the voters surveyed supported eliminating gender bias against women in the California Workers' Compensation System as a matter of equality.  Eight-percent of those surveyed said they would support a measure that would require Workers' Compensation claims to be treated equally for men and women.

Next, regarding Workers' Compensation medical treatment:

  • Sixty-one percent of voters surveyed felt that the patient, not the insurance company or the employer, should have the right to select a doctor for evaluation when injured on the job.
  • Fifty-nine percent disapproved of the insurance company or the employer having the right to pick the doctor that injured workers visit for medical treatment related to a work injury
  • Sixty-nine percent of voters surveyed disapproved of a second opinion doctor who does not exam the injured worker having the authority to deny medical treatment prescribed by a company or employer-selected treating doctor.

CAAA is working to publicize the results of this survey to help drive changes in the law to allow greater access to medical care for injured workers and eliminate bias in the California Workers' Compensation System.  The attorneys at Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP (GEK) have long been active members of CAAA, with two GEK partners serving as president of the organization as well as firm-wide participation on various committees as well as the Board of Directors.

As advocates for injured workers, the attorneys at GEK will keep you updated with respect to the outcome of CAAA's efforts.

You can make a difference at the polls and stand up for injured workers' rights and benefits by communicating your concerns to your local California legislators.  You can find your local legislators here and make sure that you are a registered voter for upcoming elections. Click here to register online.

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