Last week, news broke that actress Tina Fey was being targeted for failing to pay for workers' compensation for her staff between November 2012 and February 2, 2014. Earlier this week, the vice president of Robertson Taylor--Fey's insurance broker--cleared her name by accepting blame for what was apparently a clerical error. The company made it clear that Fey was not delinquent in paying her insurance premiums or in maintaining the proper coverage.
The issue of carrying proper work injury coverage is an important one. Here in California, all employers--even those with only one employee--must carry workers' compensation insurance. There are specific laws that apply to certain employers, such those involving contractors and out-of-state employers with workers regularly stationed in California.
More broadly, there are a number of requirements employers must follow with respect to work injury laws beyond carrying proper coverage. These include posting requirements, which notify employees of their rights; establishing a process for handling workers' comp claims; and accommodating injured employees once they return to work.
Failure to abide by these requirements can result in serious penalties. In fact, failing to maintain coverage is a criminal offense. Because of this, it is important for employers to understand their duties. It is also crucial for employees to know their rights and employers' duties, so that they can better advocate for themselves if an employer fails to fulfill those obligations.
Injured workers who are unsure about whether their employer is following state laws regarding workers' compensation should speak to an experienced attorney, who can provide guidance.
Source: New York Daily News, "Insurance broker for Tina Fey admits fault for $79G workers' insurance error," Barbara Ross, April 2, 2014.