Proposed Law: California Bill Would Require Employers to Notify Employees of Right to Hire Lawyer in Workers’ Compensation Claim

On January 24, 2024, Business Insurance reported that a proposed state law would require all employers to change their workers’ compensation notification to clarify and emphasize an injured worker’s right to consult with an attorney. Here, our Bakersfield workers’ compensation defense law firm provides an overview of the proposed law that would put additional obligations on employers in California.

What the Law Requires Now: Basic Workers’ Compensation Information

Many businesses and organizations in California are already subject to workers’ compensation notification requirements. More specifically, existing California law mandates that employers should post the following basic information about workers’ compensation rights in an “easy to read” and “easily noticeable” place in the workplace:

  • Details on which entities will manage their workers’ compensation insurance claim;
  • Details on where and how they should report their injury or illness: and
  • Details on their right to seek medical care if they are hurt at work.

An employer that violates its obligation to provide the proper notices to employees could potentially face sanctions from California regulators.

What the Proposed Law Would Require: Language About Right to an Attorney

A lawmaker in California has proposed Assembly Bill 1870 (AB 1870). If the proposed legislation is passed, it will alter the work notification requirements that are put on employers. Specifically, the bill aims to enhance the rights of workers by mandating that employers provide clear notification to employees about their right to hire an attorney when filing a workers’ compensation claim. The requirement is in response to concerns that employees may not be fully aware of their legal rights under the current system and might be disadvantaged when navigating the claims. Here is the language that would need to be posted if the current version of AB 1870 becomes law:

  • “injured employee may consult a licensed attorney to advise them of their rights under workers’ compensations laws”

Whether or not AB 1870 becomes law remains to be seen. As of January 2024, the proposed bill has not yet been assigned to any committee.

Employers Must Ensure Full Compliance with Workers’ Compensation Regulations

Employers must adhere to all applicable workers’ compensation requirements. If AB 1870 is passed into law, then employers should be prepared to update their notification language. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in legal ramifications for employers, including fines and penalties. As California has some of the most comprehensive workers’ compensation regulations in the entire country, proactive compliance is essential.

Speak to Our Bakersfield, CA Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney Today

At Yrulegui & Roberts, we are a workers’ compensation defense law firm that is devoted to providing top-tier guidance and support to our clients. If you are an employer in California with questions about a workers’ compensation compliance issues, please contact us today to arrange your confidential case review. Our firm works with employers in Bakersfield, Kern County, and throughout the wider region.