California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill aimed at eliminating gender discrimination in the award of workers’ compensation disability benefits in the state. The measure, Assembly Bill 305, would have eliminated pregnancy and menopause from consideration when determining an injured female employee’s claim and associated apportionment of disability. AB 305 also would have prevented psychiatric disability or impairment caused by those conditions, or instances of sexual harassment, from being considered when apportioning a work injury.
Further, the bill contained a provision requiring that workplace conditions that cause breast cancer do not receive a lower workers’ compensation benefit rating than the rating for prostate cancer. The bill’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), issued a statement voicing disappointment in the governor’s action, saying that, “With all due respect, a woman’s breasts are worth as much as the prostate of a male coworker[,] and they should be valued as such if they were lost in a workplace injury. Women should not be penalized for being pregnant or going through menopause, or be told [that] the loss of a breast due to cancer acquired in the workplace has no value in California’s workers’ compensation system.”
Read more from Workers’ Compensation Institute 360 here.