On the eve of new reform legislation to California Worker’s Compensation laws, Rosa Moran resigned as the Administrative Director of the California Division of Workers' Compensation. After heated negotiations in which Ms. Moran argued on behalf of injured workers’ rights, she will not be there to see the fruits of her effort. Instead, she will be returning to her position as a Worker’s Compensation judge in the Oakland district office of the Division of Worker’s Compensation.
Rosa Moran’s year term as the head of the California Division of Workers’ Compensation was characterized by a passion for sticking up for the rights of injured workers. She fought hard to include increases in benefits in the new California legislation, SB 863. However, as many California attorneys point out, it’s flawed legislation. Rosa Moran’s team pushed hard for increases in benefits to permanently injured workers, but the resulting increase is modest at best. In fact, the legislation has made it harder for injured workers to recover, excluding mental issues and dysfunctions which are often undiagnosed problems associated with injury on the job. Recovery options for “disproportionate loss of earnings” following a “catastrophic injury” are ill defined at best.
Perhaps Ms. Moran is continuing the fight from the court bench where she can still stand up for the little guy. In the coming months and years, the applications of this law will be the real battle ground for injured workers seeking equitable relief.