ARTICLE
18 April 2024

California Considers Workers' Compensation Heat Illness Presumption For Agricultural Workers

OD
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart

Contributor

Ogletree Deakins is a labor and employment law firm representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters. Ogletree Deakins has more than 850 attorneys located in 53 offices across the United States and in Europe, Canada, and Mexico. The firm represents a range of clients, from small businesses to Fortune 50 companies.
In February 2024, California State Senator Dave Cortese introduced Senate Bill (SB) 1299. The bill would add section 3212.81 to the California Labor Code to establish a workers' compensation...
United States Employment and HR
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In February 2024, California State Senator Dave Cortese introduced Senate Bill (SB) 1299. The bill would add section 3212.81 to the California Labor Code to establish a workers' compensation presumption related to heat illness. The bill is now set for a hearing on April 10, 2024, in the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee.

Quick Hits

  • A newly proposed bill would create a presumption that certain heat-related injuries “arose out of and came in the course of employment” if the injuries developed after a worker has been working outside “for an employer … that fails to comply with heat illness prevention standards.”
  • The bill applies to employers in the agricultural industry specifically.
  • This bill is scheduled for a hearing on April 10, 2024.

The proposed law would establish a California workers' compensation presumption within the agriculture industry. In particular, if passed, the law would include the following key features:

  • If an agriculture employer failed to comply with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health—or Cal/OSHA—“heat illness prevention standards … any resulting heat-related injury” would “be presumed to arise out of and in the court of employment.”
  • The bill defines an “injury” as “any heat-related injury, illness, or death that develops or manifests after the employee was working outdoors during or within the pay period in which an employee suffers any heat-related illness, injury, or death.”
  • The presumption would be rebuttable, but unless controverted by evidence, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board would be required to find a heat illness injury.

All California employers are required to comply with the current outdoor heat illness standard, which requires employers to implement a written heat illness plan, which must include “[p]rocedures for the provision of water and access to shade,” a relevant training course, “acclimatization methods and procedures,” emergency response procedures, and a requirement regarding rest periods.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

ARTICLE
18 April 2024

California Considers Workers' Compensation Heat Illness Presumption For Agricultural Workers

United States Employment and HR

Contributor

Ogletree Deakins is a labor and employment law firm representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters. Ogletree Deakins has more than 850 attorneys located in 53 offices across the United States and in Europe, Canada, and Mexico. The firm represents a range of clients, from small businesses to Fortune 50 companies.
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