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Bill Introduced to End Gender Bias in Workers’ Comp Claims

Bill Introduced to End Gender Bias in Workers' Comp Claims

Over the past few years, many employees who have been injured on the job have noticed a particularly discouraging trend; women aren’t getting the same amount of benefits in Workers’ Compensation claims. This is not exclusive to any one state, though it is imperative that your clients be aware of their New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Liability Risks and have the proper coverage available for their employees, in order to reduce their risks of facing a legal claim.

Does gender bias really exist? Well, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, if a female police officer underwent a double mastectomy due to breast cancer that she got due to being exposed to hazardous materials on the job, and would be considered 0-5% disabled. However, if a male officer developed prostate cancer for the same reasons, he would be 16% disabled.

What’s the reason for this? According to Workers’ Compensation law, the percentage to which someone is considered disabled from a work-related injury is dependent on how much responsibility the worker bears for the injury. Perhaps surprisingly for many people, pregnancy, obesity, and event menopause are among the factors considered in reducing awards to the types of workers mentioned above.

A recent case of gender bias was a woman who developed job-related carpal syndrome, and found that her Workers’ Compensation awards were reduced because she was postmenopausal. So, what can be done about cases such as hers, or the hypothetical situations mentioned above?

Lawmakers in California are making progressive steps right now; the Women’s Caucus of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez recently announced legislation that would eliminate this gender bias that exists in Workers’ Compensation claims. According to Gonzales, Workers’ Compensation distributors often treat being female as a “pre-existing condition.” However unintentional that may be, legislators throughout the country agree that this needs to be changed.

At Associated Specialty Insurance Agency (ASIA), we understand your clients likely have many questions about their New Jersey Workers’ Compensation coverage. Our focus over the past two decades has been exclusively in Workers’ Compensation, providing insurance agents and brokers with access to markets and programs for their clients throughout our target states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. For more information about our services and what industries we target, please contact us today at (866) 679-7457.

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