The Department of Labor & Industries recently amended the process and published an amended checklist for employers seeking Willful Misrepresentation orders. The Department’s new checklist for reporting Willful Misrepresentation available here. Pursuant to RCW 51.32.240(5), self-insured employers can demand repayment of any benefits induced by willful misrepresentation along with a 50% penalty payable to the Department’s supplemental pension fund so long as the repayment and recoupment of benefits is demanded within three years of the discovery of the worker’s willful misrepresentation. The statute goes on to explain that “willful misrepresentation” includes willful false statements, omissions, or concealment of any material fact. Additionally, Washington Administrative Code 296-14-4121 provides that the term “willful” means a “conscious or deliberate false statement, misrepresentation, omission,… Continue reading
How many times have you heard Human Resources tell you to document, document, document? Well, it’s because of cases like Estep v. Forever 21. This case, from the US District Court of Oregon, is a good reminder of what can happen when you fail to document and discuss performance issues with struggling employees. Forever 21 hired Jonathan Estep in July 2012. He quickly worked his way up to district manager, covering all stores in the state of Washington. By November 2015, he was temporarily assigned to stores in the Sacramento district. Despite his quick rise, Estep was not a top performer. In November 2015, Forever 21 identified the 100 worst performing stores in the US. Estep oversaw 6 of the… Continue reading
The WCB is statutorily required to review claimant attorney fees every other year and it just held a public meeting to discuss the issue. Several concepts were put forward by the claimant’s attorneys including: Creating an optional bifurcated proceeding to address attorney fees after the judge has ruled on the merits of the case; Using a set multiplier to compensate attorneys for the contingent nature of their work; Increasing the fees for recorded statements to $400/hour (now at $275) and/or allowing attorney’s to be paid for the time preparing for the worker’s statement/deposition, and; Using defense fees/hours as a factor for the judge to consider in awarding a fee to claimant’s attorney. You can find the proposals and written testimony… Continue reading
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) recently issued final rules implementing the Oregon Equal Pay Law, most provisions of which take effect on January 1, 2019. The full text is available on the BOLI web site here. The final rules contain only minor changes from the proposed rules (see our previous blog post for a detailed discussion). The rules continue to define “work of comparable character” as work that includes substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions, with no single factor being determinative.” Key to this definition is the emphasis that “no single factor” will be determinative – in other words, employers should point to multiple factors to justify differences in pay… Continue reading
Check out the new Oregon and Washington Absence and Disability Management group on LinkedIn. This new group is aimed at giving employers and HR professionals a forum to share ideas and learn about changes specific to the unique laws and requirements in Oregon and Washington. Join the group and share with others who may be interested!
The WCD held another public advisory meeting, this time to discuss the medical billing and medical services administrative rules. Probably the most important and interesting topic was whether the WCD should look into rules to regulate and/or promote telemedicine in Oregon. The discussion was generally positive. Allowing workers to speak with a doctor via video on the work site was described as a good screening tool to determine whether the worker needed to seek emergency, urgent, or any follow up care. Telemedicine would also increase the availability of medical providers to many workers in rural areas. If you have any experience with telemedicine and workers’ compensation claims, the WCD would like your input. Our meeting agenda also covered a variety… Continue reading
The WCD held a meeting to take public comment on the administrative rules related to Independent Medical Exams (IME’s) and Worker Requested Medical Exams (WRME’s). Some of the more lively discussions centered around whether IME providers should be required to produce their report within a certain time frame with claimants’ attorneys arguing medical treatment, time-loss benefits, and permanent impairment can be all be delayed pending these reports. We provided ample testimony that the current rules were adequate to address these concerns. The majority of the rules discussed pertain to the medical providers’ licensing and training. These discussions focused on confirming the WCD’s ability to sanction or remove an IME provider from the approved list of providers is consistent… Continue reading
Sather Byerly & Holloway, LLP is excited to announce its Workers’ Compensation Online Certification Program for claims examiners, employers, insurance brokers, and medical providers or anyone else interested in learning more about Oregon’s workers’ compensation system. The course includes eight online modules where students will learn about several key issues, such as: • Compensability • Claims Administration • Temporary Disability • Medical Services • Claim Closure • Vocational Benefits • Litigation & Settlement • Board’s Own Motion Jurisdiction • Third-Party Actions • The Workers’ Benefit Fund Students will also be provided with a coursebook, which covers these and many more topics. As an added bonus, each student will be assigned an attorney mentor who they can use as a resource… Continue reading
SBH is hosting its 17th annual Oregon Claims Professional Workshop on November 2, 2017 at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville. Covered topics include lessons in investigations, the intersection of Oregon workers’ compensation and employment leave laws, issues related to the “course & scope” of employment, dealing with concussions and post-concussion syndrome, an update on Oregon appellate decisions, strategies for Job Descriptions and Functional Capacity Evaluations, and an informative session with DCBS advisors. For more information on attending SBH University, click here.
Are you an employer who offers paid family and/or medical leave? If so, you may qualify for a tax credit for tax years 2018 and 2019. Depending on how much you pay an employee while on family or medical leave, you may be able to claim between a 12.5% – 25% credit for the wages you paid to the employee during the leave. See 26 USC §45S. The IRS recently issued Notice 2018-71, which provides guidance for employers who want to claim the credit. Many employers I work with have a PTO policy that groups various types of leave into one big leave bank. The Notice clarifies whether an employer can claim the credit for an employee taking leave for… Continue reading