In a new PPD case, Schleiss v. SAIF Corp., the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld an insurer’s right to apportion permanent disability awards. Claimant was injured in April 2008. In 2009, the claim was closed with no impairment. Claimant appealed and requested a medical arbiter evaluation. The arbiter found range of motion limitations, 33% of which were attributable to the compensable condition. The arbiter attributed the remainder to preexisting conditions and a long history of smoking. Relying on the arbiter, the OOR apportioned 33% of the range of motion limitations to the accepted injury. On appeal, the ALJ and Board affirmed the OOR. Claimant appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals arguing… Continue reading
Are actors and acting instructors employees or independent contractors for purposes of workers’ compensation?
Maybe. In a recent case, SAIF Corp v. DCBS and Northwest Children’s Theater and School, the Oregon Court of Appeals discussed the legal framework a theater company must evaluate to determine if its actors and instructors are workers for whom it must obtain workers’ compensation coverage. Northwest Children’s Theater (NWCT) operates an acting school. It obtained workers’ compensation coverage through SAIF Corporation for its employees but not for actors, instructors, and production designers, which NWCT considered independent contractors. SAIF indicated workers’ compensation coverage needed to be obtained for all of these workers. The dispute came before the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), which found that NWCT instructors, actors, and production designers were not… Continue reading
On May 30th I will be a facilitator at the ADA/FMLA Employer Work Group lunch session. This is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente & DMEC Oregon/SW Washington. This is an opportunity for you, as the employer, to bring questions about any aspect of the ADA/FMLA process, challenging case studies, or examples of best practices. It will be an open forum with a focus on problem solving and employers talking about real issues that can have real consequences. Program details and registration information can be found in the Upcoming Events section of our website. You can also e-mail me: email@example.com with any questions.
The Department of Labor announced today that it has settled a nationwide overtime claim with Wal-Mart. Prior to 2007, the large retail chain misclassified certain vision center managers and security personnel as exempt, which meant these individuals were not paid overtime. After years of negotiation, Wal-Mart has agreed to pay $4,828,442 to approximately 4,500 employees and pay a civil penalty of $463,815. Although most companies are not as large as Wal-Mart, two important lessons can be learned from this settlement. First, an employer must look beyond job titles. Calling an employee a “manager” does not make an employee exempt if job duties do not meet FLSA standards. Second, misclassifications usually impact a group of employees, exponentially increasing the cost of… Continue reading
To make more efficient use of pension adjudicators’ time, the Department has developed new procedures that went into effect 4-23-12. There is a new Pension Review Coversheet that must be submitted with all requests. See attached Review Coversheet and Department Guidelines. New Process for Self-Insured Pension Reviews Pension Review Coversheet
The department, workers, and providers often receive correspondence from self-insured employers or their third party administrators that doesn’t include the department’s (L&I) claim number. Many self-insured employers assign their own claim number and don’t include the L&I claim number on correspondence about the claim. Failure to include the L&I claim number has resulted in delays, confusion and additional administrative expenses for the department, injured workers, and medical providers. The department let the self-insured community know on 1/15/12 about the department’s plans to begin issuing penalties for claim related communication that both: Originates from the self-insured employer or their third party administrator Does not include the L&I claim number. In addition to the L&I claim number,… Continue reading
This week, the Oregon legislature passed SB 1548 preventing discrimination against the unemployed. This new law, effective March 27, 2012, prohibits ads or job postings that require applicants to be currently employed. Employers may still post jobs that state only current employees of the company will be considered for the position. Violations of this law will expose employers to civil penalties by the Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI).
Employer may have violated ADA and state law by using post-offer medical information in discipline and WC
Employee sued employer alleging workers’ compensation retaliation. Employee alleged the employer misused her post-offer medical questionnaire to terminate her employment and reduce workers’ compensation benefits. The claim was brought under ORS 659A.133. However, the court relied on provisions of the ADA, including 42 USC Sec 12112(d)(3). The court cited precedent from other states. As such this case presents concerns for all employers. Claimant completed a post-offer medical questionnaire and did not reveal a childhood history of scoliosis or early signs of carpal tunnel syndrome. She filed a workers’ compensation claim for carpal tunnel and this was accepted. However, her employer terminated her for falsifying her post-offer medical questionnaire. Her workers’ compensation benefits… Continue reading
The world of employment and workers’ compensation law is ever changing. The changes are not predictable and it does not make sense to wait until the next quarterly newsletter to update our clients. Blogs are a perfect way for SBH attorneys to communicate regarding important new legal issues, case law development, industry development and happenings at SBH. You can access the blog in many different ways including through an RSS feed, emails, or a twitter feed. You can limit the information so that you only receive updates on certain topics. This way, you get exactly what you want, when you want it and the way you want it. Some will wait for a printed… Continue reading