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Posted on: Sep 17, 2018

Racism should be rooted out no matter how deeply it is hidden, even in DNA.

I was appalled to see the City of Jackson v. WCAB ruling come down in favor of using "heritability and genetics" in determining the value of a person of color's injury at work. Even more disturbing was the fact that the case involved an African American police officer who had served his community for many years. He deserved better.

This ruling may not be racist. But the law it was based on surely is. Physicians are allowed to use race, gender and national origin in determining the percentage of disability due to "other factors" - including your ancestry DNA - an insidious racism hidden behind legalisms. Three-fifths a man... embedded in California's Workers' Compensation Law.

I'm thankful to the California Applicants' Attorneys Association for spearheading the effort to undo this decision and right a tremendous wrong in the way of Senate Bill 899, authored by Senator Richard Pan. This bill will prevent the use of race, gender or national origin - a person's DNA - in determining the percentage of permanent disability and help remove discrimination in the workers' compensation system.

With the bill sitting on the Governor's desk, I'm hoping we can all look back at this as another step on California's long road to root out racism from all the dark corners where it festers and hurts.