California Bill Would Make Employers Liable for Employment Practices of Subcontractors

by Michael Peabody (April 7, 2014)

The California legislature is considering a bill that could rewrite the relationship between employers and temporary staffing agencies. Assembly Bill 1897 (Hernandez, D-48) would make client employers that hire laborers from temporary agencies liable for the failure of those agencies to provide workers’ compensation insurance, violate wage and hour laws, or fail to withhold proper taxes.

According to the bill introduction language, "[AB 1897] would require a client employer, as defined, to share with a labor contractor all legal responsibility and liability for the payment of wages, the failure to report and pay all required employer contributions, worker contributions, and personal income tax withholdings, and the failure to obtain valid workers’ compensation coverage."

Supreme Court Note: Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Companies Insurance Thought Leadership

by Michael Peabody (April 1, 2014)

On Tuesday, March 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two highly anticipated cases involving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and competing claims of religious freedom and the access to contraception.

The ACA (also known as Obamacare) requires employers that provide health insurance to employees to cover several types of contraception. Two for-profit employers, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, object to four of the twenty forms of required contraception which company owners believe cause abortions.

The penalty for failure to provide coverage for these additional forms of contraception could cost Hobby Lobby upwards of $475 million a year for its 13,000 employees, or almost $37,000 a year in fines per employee.

Strike While the Panel is Hot - The Timeline for PQME Strikes Under SB 863

by Michael Peabody (March 20, 2014)

How many days do parties have to strike a doctor’s name after the day a QME panel is assigned by the Administrative Director?  The answer is fifteen days according to the WCAB in the case of Razo v. Las Posas Country Club (ADJ8381652) (not yet published) dated February 7, 2014.

On January 1, 2013, California Senate Bill 863 went into effect, modifying the tight timelines for striking a name from the panel of QMEs. Labor Code section 4062.2(c) was amended to state:

Within 10 days of assignment of the panel by the administrative director, each party may strike one name from the panel. The remaining qualified medical evaluator shall serve as the medical evaluator. If a party fails to exercise the right to strike a name from the panel within 10 days of assignment of the panel by the administrative director, the other party may select any physician who remains on the panel to serve as the medical evaluator.  The administrative director may prescribe the form, the manner, or both, by which the parties shall conduct the selection process.” (Emphasis added).