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
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
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!