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Posted on: May 28, 2019

Freedom and equality.

Brave men and women sacrifice their lives in service of our country to ensure these two ideals remain the guiding principles on which our nation was founded. We remember them each Memorial Day and give thanks for their valor in the line of duty.

It's our duty to carry on their legacy and ensure freedom and equality for all, especially those less fortunate. And we continue to struggle.

Injured workers have a right to be treated equally and receive just benefits under the law. But as it currently stands, they're not equal. Physicians can use biological, inherent traits such as race, gender and national origin in determining the percentage of disability due to "other factors" in apportionment.

Women who contract breast cancer as a result of their working environments will receive less benefits than a man who contracts testicular cancer from those same environments. An African American could have their benefits significantly reduced simply because African Americans have higher rates of hypertension, yet the injured worker in question could have never been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

We applaud the California State Senate for unanimously approving Senate Bill 731 (Bradford, D-Gardena), a CAAA-sponsored bill that would prohibit the consideration of race, sex, age, sexual identity, religious creed or other genetic factors in apportionment rulings.

It's not the first time we've pushed similar legislation through the legislative process only to come up empty handed, but hopefully it's the last.

California's injured workers depend on a just and impartial workers' compensation system for their families' livelihood. We hope for their sake that the Assembly and the governor will join us in the continued push for progress.