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Session I - Workers' Compensation Claims Involving Remote Workers: What employers and HR professionals need to know – Nicole Andrescavage
An employee working in a warehouse slip while carrying a package to store elsewhere in the facility. This is quite clearly an injury that is likely compensable under a workers’ compensation claim. But what about a woman who trips over her dog while on a coffee break, working from home during the pandemic? The short answer, in line with the usual attorney response, is that it depends (but, it might be!). In this program, the presenters will elucidate upon the Workers’ Compensation conditions and laws with respect to the drastic rise in employees working from home (in Florida, it turns out, the answer is yes, the injury is compensable as well). This program is of seminal importance for attorneys handling workers’ compensation claims on behalf of clients where the petitioning employee was working from home at the time of an alleged injury, as well where an employee alleges an exposure to COVID at work. This is critically important, as many companies will be permitting or encouraging at least some employees to work from home into the future. A survey of employers and employees by PwC indicated that employers expect a hybrid workplace, with at least one day per week of working from home, are likely to be the new normal.
The limitations of the workers’ compensation system of laws vis-à-vis remote workers are no more apparent than they are in the context of the coronavirus pandemic; however, case law has begun filling in where these limitations exist. Employers are not always aware that they may be liable for employee injuries sustained while working from home, nor are they aware of the need to update their practices to account for those telecommuting in order to minimize their exposure. Attorneys have likely fielded questions related to the impacts of employees working from home from numerous insureds/claims adjusters. This program will help all attorneys working with workers’ compensation insurance navigate the legal and practical aspects of claims related to employees being injured while working from home. The program will additionally feature some best practices for minimization of risk exposure. In addition, the program will touch on the handling of COVID exposure claims by the workers’ compensation courts.
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Session II - Long-Term Covid/ Coverage Issues/ Medical Care Issues - David W. Langham
Workers’ compensation is often intertwined with various other employment laws. The pandemic has presented a variety of challenges with disability and medical challenges, the ADA and FMLA. There are also challenging issues with the delivery of medical care, investigations of compensability, and very challenging distinctions in the various state laws regarding when occupational diseases are or are not compensable. The costs of workers’ compensation are changing with medical inflation and decreasing frequency changing the economic impact of benefit delivery. With the recent inflationary challenges, this may be further exacerbated. Medical challenges are persistent, with the various state laws that constrain reimbursement and the litigation challenges inherent in workers’ compensation. The discussion will bring overview understanding of these and other issues that challenge the employer/employee relationship in the retention and accommodation of employees, the safety of workplaces, and the delivery of appropriate statutory benefits.
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Session III - Managing Medications in Workers' Compensation Claims – Debra Doby
We will discuss opioids, medications, and cannabis with a focus on managing future medical exposure for workers' compensation claims. The course will walk through how to identify medication exposure, including opioids, in your claims, dangerous combinations of medications, and strategies on how to manage medications to reduce overall future medical exposure.
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Session IV - Marijuana: Strategies to Reduce Impact on Workplace Safety – Debra Doby
We will discuss the three main areas of substance abuse that result in increase of risk for injury and reduced productivity. In particular, we will focus on the impact of legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on the workplace. We will review applicable federal and state laws including New York’s MRTA. We will also discuss the emerging trend of how Courts are focusing on “offsite” versus “on site” usage of marijuana. We will also review various employment policies that employers will need to update to address substance abuse. We will also discuss drug testing policies and how to policies need to be adapted to address cannabis. Finally, we will address the policies and procedures employers should have in place when individuals “pop” positive on a drug test.
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Date: June 7, 2022
Nicole Andrescavage | Lewis Brisbois
Nicole Andrescavage is an associate in the Providence office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the General Liability and Workers’ Compensation Practices. She is admitted to practice in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Prior to joining Lewis Brisbois, Nicole gained experience in environmental, land use, energy/utility, and municipal law at a small boutique firm. She also previously served as General Counsel and Director of Policy and Legal Affairs for two local maritime-related entities. In that capacity, she was a member of the Commonwealth of Dominica’s delegation to the International Maritime Organization, and worked on various business, education, land use, maritime/admiralty, and sanctions compliance legal projects.
During law school, Nicole received the top score in the Immigration Law Clinic for her advocacy as a student attorney, representing clients before the Boston Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the USCIS. Nicole was also president of the law school’s Maritime Law Society.
David W. Langham | Office of Judges of Compensation Claims
David W. Langham is Florida Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims, a position he has held since 2006. His legal experience includes workers’ compensation, employment litigation, and medical malpractice. He has delivered in excess of 1,500 professional lectures, published over 40 articles in professional publications and has published over 1,400 blog posts regarding the law, technology, and professionalism. David is a student, a teacher, a critic, a coach and a leader. He lives in Pensacola, Florida with his wife Pamela Langham, Esq.
Debra Doby | Vaughan and Baio
Debra Doby concentrates her practice on New York and Longshore Harbor workers’ compensation, with a subspecialty in construction and safety matters. Named a “Rising Star” in New York Metro Super Lawyers in 2016-20, she has built a reputation on success in the courtroom as well as a history of deep and substantive engagement with the issues her clients face. Drawing on both her undergraduate degree in chemistry as well as her insights into workers’ compensation issues and trends in pain medication prescription practices nationally, Debra created our Medication/MSA Reduction Program (MRP) — a comprehensive program designed to help claims professionals reduce claimants’ use of prescription medications and excessive treatment. The program also helps identify and mitigate claims that have the potential to spiral
out of control in terms of cost and exposure. She frequently writes and presents on the subject for industry publications and conferences.
Session I – Workers’ Compensation Claims Involving Remote Workers: What employers and HR professionals need to know | 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Break | 1:00pm – 1:10pm
Session II – Long-Term Covid/ Coverage Issues/ Medical Care Issues | 1:10pm – 3:20pm
Break | 2:10pm – 2:20pm
Break | 3:20pm – 3:30pm
Session III – Managing Medications in Worker’s Compensation Claims | 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Break | 4:30pm – 4:40pm
Session IV – Marijuana: Strategies to reduce impact on workplace safety | 4:40pm – 5:40pm