Partner, Fisher & Phillips LLP
Travis Vance, a partner at Fisher & Phillips, is dedicated to responsive client service and forming a partnership with companies to help tackle their most difficult and high-profile issues. Having gained a reputation as a professional and aggressive advocate for his clients, Travis has emerged as a thought leader in the field of workplace safety. His writing and interviews are followed closely by experts in the safety arena and have been featured in premiere publications such as Inc., Bloomberg Law, Business Insurance, The Washington Post, EHS Today, and the Wall Street Journal.
Vance is a partner in the firm’s Charlotte office and cochair of the firm’s Workplace Safety and Catastrophe Management Practice Group. He has tried matters across several industries and various subject matters, including employment litigation, business disputes, and matters prosecuted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
He uses unique or outside-the-box approaches to counsel employers and owners on all aspects of employment law and the development of preventive policies and procedures to avoid employment and workplace safety-related claims. Vance handles litigation in both federal and state courts as well as claims pending with state and federal agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), MSHA, OSHA, and the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).
Workers’ Compensation and Return to Work for EHS professionals: Managing Claims and Controlling Costs Through Safety Initiatives
October 13, 2021, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (refreshment break from 10:30 a.m.–10:45 a.m.)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, California employers have another obstacle to overcome when handling workers’ compensation claims: proving employees didn’t contract the virus at the workplace.
In September 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law that establishes a workers' compensation presumption that will apply to most employers in the state that have a COVID-19 outbreak through 2022. The law, SB 1159, will shift the burden of proof to presume that covered workers who contracted COVID-19 did so at work, unless the employer can prove otherwise.
When an employee is injured or suffers an illness, whether the cause is occupational or not, it’s important for the safety and HR teams to evaluate when, and in what capacity, the worker can return to work, either to full duty or with light-duty restrictions or other accommodations.
By returning the worker to duty sooner, you may reduce workers’ compensation exposure in the event the employee’s condition is due to an industrial injury or occupational exposure to a harmful agent. But, on the other hand, if an employee returns to work too soon, he or she may be at risk for reinjury. Plus, it’s important to balance your organization’s practical considerations with your legal obligations and rights under California and federal law.
This intensive session is designed to walk you through the return-to-work process here in California so you’re prepared to deal with potential challenges associated with administering fitness-for-duty examinations and providing accommodations.
• How COVID-19 exposure can impact workers’ compensation claims;
• The ins and outs of SB 1159 and its reporting requirements;
• What the “rebuttable presumption” is and how it will apply if a COVID-19 "outbreak" occurs;
• The types of medical information available to employers and what’s off limits;
• How to tell if a worker is or is not eligible to return to work;
• Your obligation to grant reasonable accommodations under the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act;
• Legal strategies for managing injured or sick employees’ return to work; and
• Requirements under the California Family Rights Act, including the granting of medical leaves of absence and medical privacy concerns.