Attorney Aaron Bass testified on behalf of Washington Self-Insurers Association in opposition to SHB 2409. The bill not only increases the penalty amounts, it imposes a new vague “fair conduct” standard and includes a “per occurrence” multiplier on self-insurance penalties. Attorney Bass used his time to point out the grossly punitive and concerning language in Section 2 of the proposed bill. The bill would entitle claimants a penalty each time benefits were unreasonably delayed. Rather assessing a penalty of $500 or 25% of the aggregate amount of delayed or unpaid benefits, the proposed bill provides a maximum $1,700 penalty for each act of unreasonable delay. The consequence of a “per occurrence” penalty is catastrophic and extremely punitive. Attorney Bass outlined… Continue reading
Lauren Oda, an SBH attorney, since 2011 officially became Sather, Byerly & Holloway’s newest partner, effective January 1, 2020. Lauren provides defense counsel for employers and insurers in workers’ compensation matters in Oregon and Washington. She is especially skilled in workers’ compensation hearing defense and advising clients on difficult claims. Lauren can be reached a email@example.com or 503-595-2139. Congratulations, Lauren!
Employers understand the risks associated with alcohol consumption at work, particularly for those employees who operate equipment or vehicles. But, employers often view the off-work hours as something outside their area of concern. That is not necessarily true. When an employer organizes or encourages employees to grab drinks after work, the company may risk becoming liable for the consequences of that drinking. Earlier this year, the Oregon Supreme Court sent that message to employers in Schutz v. La Costita III, Inc., 364 Or 536 (2019). Ms. Schutz drank too much, hopped in her car, and ended up paralyzed from the car accident she caused. Thankfully, the other driver was not significantly injured. She sued both the bar and her employer.… Continue reading
In response to the national #metoo movement, the Oregon legislature passed the 2019 Oregon Workplace Fairness Act. The Workplace Fairness Act (the “Act”) takes aim at employer’s employment agreements, settlement agreements, anti-harassment and discrimination policies as well as increasing the statute of limitations for a number of unlawful employment actions. The Act was passed in the 2019 legislature and governs activity after September 29, 2019. However, employers are not required to implement the anti-harassment and discrimination policies discussed below until October 2020. Employment and Severance Agreements The Act prohibits employers from entering into employment agreements that contain a nondisclosure or non-disparagement provision that prevents employees from discussing workplace harassment or discrimination. In addition, the Act prohibits nondisclosure, non-disparagement, and no-rehire… Continue reading
Join SBH for the next Employer Disability and Leave Roundtable September 10, 2019. We invite you to join us September 10th for the next Kaiser Permanente/Sather Byerly & Holloway Employer Disability and Leave Roundtable. SBH’s Rebecca Watkins and Dr. Carrie Davino-Ramaya will host a roundtable discussion of real-life leave scenarios and share their insights on how to address various disability and leave requirements under state, federal and local laws. Dr. Davino-Ramaya will provide insights from a medical perspective on leave and disability certifications. This is a great opportunity to explore the legal and medical aspects of leave, as well as connect with other employers and HR professionals in the metro area. When: September 10, 2019 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30… Continue reading
After several months of deliberation, the board passed new rules requiring translation of non-English documents for hearing. OAR 438-007-0045. The parties can either stipulate to the translation, or the party offering the document must include an English translation. Any dispute regarding the translation will be resolved by the ALJ and the ALJ can consult any person or entity the judge deems to achieve substantial justice. The costs of the translation can be resolved by stipulation, reimbursable to the worker’s attorney, or paid by the WCB if the judge incurred the costs. With these rules, the board also required all acceptances and denials issued on or after June 1, 2019 to include a “multi-language help-page.” The notice provides contact information for… Continue reading
For Oregon employers, the minimum wage increased again on July 1, 2019, part of incremental increases under a 2016 law. The new minimum wage rate differs depending on region. Standard: $11.25 Portland Metro Area: $12.50 Non-urban Oregon counties: $11.00. If you are unsure of which rate applies to your employees, visit BOLI’s website for a map of the Portland rate area and list of non-urban counties. Please feel free to contact Sather, Byerly, & Holloway with any questions.
It has been a busy year in the Oregon legislature, but there has been only one major change to the statutes governing workers’ compensation. Senate Bill 507 creates a new presumption of compensability for certain mental health claims filed by first responders working for public entities. If a claim does not meet all of the criteria in the new law, the worker can still pursue a mental health claim under ORS 656.802(3) without the use of the presumption. Here are the key points of the new law: Only applies to public employers; Only applies to listed professions; Employees can file injury claim on first day of job, but requires 5 years of employment for an occupational disease; Covers employees for… Continue reading
Oregon Supreme Court rules that medical services for conditions caused in material part by the work injury incident, not just accepted conditions, are compensable
In a much-awaited decision, the Oregon Supreme Court recently ruled in Garcia-Solis v. Farmers Ins. Co., 365 Or 26 (2019) that medical services for conditions caused in material part by the work injury incident, not just accepted conditions, are compensable under ORS 656.245(1)(a). In relevant part, ORS 656.245(1)(a) states that “For every compensable injury, the insurer or the self-insured employer shall cause to be provided medical services for conditions caused in material part by the injury for such period as the nature of the injury or the process of the recovery requires.” This case involves a 2009 work injury, in which a food server sustained bodily injuries. Over the next two years, the insurer accepted numerous musculoskeletal conditions. In 2012,… Continue reading
Kaiser Permanente and Sather Byerly & Holloway are sponsoring a work group for Oregon and Washington employers related to leave management. This open-forum roundtable will allow employers to bring their questions and share their insights on how to address various disability and leave requirements under state, federal or local laws. Rebecca Watkins, partner at Sather Byerly & Holloway LLP, will lead the group. She will be joined by Dr. Carrie Davino, Medical Director at Northwest Permanente, PC, who will provide insights from the medical perspective. Come network, learn from, and share with other employers! When: April 17, 2019, 11:30am – 1:30pm Where: Kaiser Permanente- Town Hall Ballroom * 3704 N Interstate Avenue * Portland, OR 97227 Cost: Free… Continue reading