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Industry Insights

Grinberg: AB 334 and Skin Cancer Presumption

  • State: California

You know what? Sometimes, I'm in a situation where I just have to be the bad guy.

Well, perhaps this is one of those situations because one of the pieces of legislation snaking its way through Sacramento is Assembly Bill 334, which will expand the list of presumptions for certain state and local government employees, namely active lifeguards and Department of Fish and Game and Department of Parks and Recreation employees.

Gregory Grinberg

Gregory Grinberg

I, the bad guy, disapprove of the ever-growing list of presumptions that almost always favor the applicant and rarely benefit the employer.

AB 334 would presume that skin cancer “developing or manifesting” during the employment of active lifeguards and game wardens is industrial. It includes the usual presumption language already offered to various other peace officers, including that “skin cancer so developing or manifesting itself in these cases shall not be attributed to any disease existing prior to that development or manifestation.”

All of these presumption laws have a simple function: the shift the cost of these maladies, such as skin cancer in the case of AB 334, from the individual to the taxpayer. 

Without the presumption, the lifeguards and game wardens could still get workers’ compensation for these conditions, but they would have to carry their burden of proving causation. So, even if the skin cancer develops for nonindustrial reasons, that cost will be borne by the taxpayers, should AB 334 become law.

Just one more thing to be aware of as the legislative landscape gets progressively bumpier for employers, public and private alike.

Gregory Grinberg is managing partner of Gale, Sutow & Associates’ S.F. Bay South office and a certified specialist in workers’ compensation law. This post is reprinted with permission from Grinberg’s WCDefenseCA blog.

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