Governor Brown Vetoes AB 570, Citing Gender Discrimination

Posted By Law Offices of Wax & Wax || 20-Oct-2017

Workers’ compensation law won’t be getting any major changes anytime soon, as the only major piece of legislation to reach Governor Brown’s desk after this year’s legislative session has been vetoed. AB 570 has been vetoed, with the Governor writing a fairly lengthy explanation letter for his decision in returning the bill to the State Assembly without his signature.

According to the bill’s author, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D – San Diego), claims that the bill would remove “gender discrimination” in the workers’ compensation system by rolling back apportionment rules that doctors and insurance companies would use to discriminate against injured female workers. The Assemblywoman Gonzalez claims that compensation for injured women can be reduced unjustly due to pre-existing conditions pertaining to pregnancy or childbirth, something which their male co-workers can never face or experience.

In essence, the bill sought to forbid insurance companies and doctors from using pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical conditions from being used to reduce workers’ compensation liability on the part of employers and their insurance companies. For many of the members of the Democrat-dominated State Assembly, the bill seemed like a slam dunk.

However, Governor Brown returned the bill without his signature. In his explanation letter, he wrote “AB 570 is a direct contradiction to [Labor Code Section 4663] because it requires employers to be liable for non-work related injuries. This measure would extend the scope of the workers’ compensation system well beyond what it is meant to do: compensate injured workers who suffer a work-related injury.”

In other words, Governor Brown expressed his concern that this new law would hold employers responsible for any injuries or aggravated conditions that are caused directly by non-work related conditions. While work-related injuries should be covered, injuries that occur on the job because of a pregnancy or child birth should not be required to be covered because the pregnancy is not a condition directly obtained as a part of work-related activities.

He continued “I agree with the Author that there is no place for gender discrimination in the workers’ compensation system. However, it is not discrimination to have a gender-neutral system in which only permanent disability that results directly from work injuries is compensable. The creation of a broad exception to the apportionment statutes for medical conditions that affect only women would create a gender-based classification and would not be likely to withstand constitutional challenge.”

In his letter, Governor Brown also noted that he also vetoed Assembly Bill 1643 in 2016 and Assembly Bill 305 back in 2015 for the same reasons that he chose to reject Assembly Bill 570. You can read his veto letter in its entirety by clicking here.

If you have suffered an injury on the job, get help with your workers’ compensation claim from a skilled Glendale workers’ comp attorney! Call the Law Offices of Wax & Wax today at (818) 946-0608 for a case evaluation!
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