January 31, 2024
A recently introduced bill in California would amend Section 3550 of the Labor Code and require that employers post a conspicuous notice of their employees’ right to an attorney in the event they become injured while working.
The bill, A.B. 1870, states that the posted notice must include that “[t]he injured employee may consult a licensed attorney to advise them of their rights under workers’ compensation laws. In some instances, attorney’s fees may be paid from an injured employee’s recovery.”
Will the Bill Impact Lawsuits?
CLM member Jeffrey M. Adelson, partner, Irvine, California-based Bober, Peterson & Koby, LLC, comments, “At first blush, I thought, ‘Here we go, another way to push cases into litigation.’” However, “After thinking about it, I do not see it making a big difference in the number of litigated workers’ compensation claims in California. I do admit it will upset the employer community.”
Adelson continues, “If the employer is following the law regarding posting [workers’ comp] notices, this is just another number on the list of rights. I think most employees know they have the right to file. They have filed or know someone who has. The right to file a [workers’ comp] claim in California is advertised on television, bus benches, and billboards. It is not a secret.
“I would be concerned if business cards or information about specific attorneys are on the wall or bulletin board next to the notice. In other words, no soliciting. How this unfolds is up to how the employers post their notices. Injured employees do have rights and these rights should be protected, as required by law. But actions and intent must be legitimate on both sides.”