The “Roe vs. Wade” of California Workers’ Compensation
Regardless of where you stand regarding a woman’s constitutionally protected reproductive rights, no one will seriously doubt that the opponents of Roe vs. Wade have made countless efforts to limit and overturn the 1973 decision of the United States Supreme Court.
For 50 years, the opponents of Roe waged war on the decision – in the courts, the press, in Congress, and in State legislatures. The foes were persistent and patient. The fait accompli (at least for now) was Trump’s appointment of activist Justices to the United States Supreme Court.
This past Friday was a stunning example of what can be taken away in the blink of an eye when citizens assume that a right will always exist because it’s “decades-old”.
So what the hell does this have to do with the California workers’ compensation system? Let me tell you.
For over 100 years, a California employee has had the constitutional right to obtain medical treatment and wage replacement benefits whenever – and however – they were injured at work. Injuries that occur because of the nature of the work – commonly known as cumulative trauma injuries – are also constitutionally protected.
Much like the enemies of Roe vs. Wade, employers and insurance companies have waged a quiet war since at least the 1970s to limit and even eliminate their responsibility for cumulative trauma injuries in the workplace.
Just as in Roe, the foes of an employee’s constitutional right to obtain medical treatment and recover lost wages for cumulative trauma have spent decades laying the groundwork – in the press, in the State Legislature, and with the courts – to take away an employee’s right to recover for a work injury that occurs over time.
The drum beat for “reform” is here again – an army of employer lobbyists are again trying to wipe out your constitutional right to workers’ compensation protections when your job injures you over time.
Let’s stop another “Roe vs. Wade” style takeaway. People are more important than profits.
And people vote to correct a wrong when important rights are taken away from them.