Workers’ compensation biased for men

If you got hurt at work or due to working in hazardous conditions, you’d expect that your workers’ compensation coverage would help you replace your lost wages and pay for your medical care. That’s not always the case, according to this story. In fact, one woman is fighting for compensation after she was denied following a diagnosis of cancer.

Is workers’ compensation really designed for both genders? A Nov. 3 news report looked into the life of one woman who received a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2012. She was told to file for workers’ compensation, because she was often exposed to chemicals, fires, explosions and other emergencies that could have had an impact on her health.

When she went to her doctor to discuss her cancer and workers’ compensation, she was told that she wouldn’t qualify, but the shock came when she discovered that if she was male and had prostate cancer, she would.

In California, legislation is in the works that would ban gender-related assessments in compensation claims. It’s suspected that over 9,000 people would be affected by that change each year. Current Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed the legislation for now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be suggested again.

What’s scary for women working with the hopes of workers’ compensation when an injury occurs is that when a man gets prostate cancer, he has a 16 to 20 percent disability rating via workers’ compensation. Women like the one in this article have a 0 percent rating because they are of non-childbearing ages and suffering from a different type of cancer. What that suggests is that woman who are in child-bearing ages are valued more highly than those who are older, while men are valued overall.

Source: RH Reality Check, “How Workers’ Comp Policies Leave Women to Fend for Themselves,” Jean Stevens, Nov. 03, 2015

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