New Workers Comp Laws In California

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Governor Jerry Brown had until September 30, 2018 to sign or veto any bill passed by the California Legislature. Governor Brown signed the following workers’ comp-related bills signed into law:

PEACE OFFICERS: Assembly Bill 1749

This bill provides that a California employer may accept liability for an injury sustained by a peace officer not acting under the immediate direction of his or her employer while apprehending suspected law violators, protecting life or property, or preserving the peace outside of California. This bill specifically includes any claims for injuries sustained by peace officers during the Oct. 1, 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nev. if the employer determines providing compensation serves public purposes.


This bill authorizes, instead of requires, Fraud Assessment Commission funds appropriated but not expended in the fiscal year that have not been allocated to the district attorneys, to be applied to satisfy the immediately following fiscal year minimum total amount required or to augment funding in the immediately following fiscal year.

The bill also requires an authorized government agency that is provided with workers’ comp insurance fraud-related information to release or provide that information to an authorized government agency, upon request, unless it would violate federal law or otherwise compromise an investigation. The bill also requires an authorized government agency that seeks to disclose information obtained from the Employment Development Department to any other governmental agency that is not authorized to receive that information to obtain EDD approval prior to disclosure.


Licensed contractors are required to have a current and valid Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Certification of Self-Insurance on file with the Contractors’ State License Board and violation of this law is a misdemeanor that must be prosecuted within 2 years. This bill makes it a misdemeanor violation for an unlicensed contractor to fail to comply with workers’ compensation insurance requirements and makes that violation subject to the two-year statute of limitations.


This bill authorizes an employer, with the written consent of the employee, to deposit disability indemnity payments for the employee in a prepaid card account until Jan. 1, 2023. The bill imposes certain conditions, such as allowing the employee reasonable access to in network ATMs and allowing for withdrawal and purchases without incurring fees. The bill also requires employers to provide aggregated data on their prepaid account programs to the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation upon request and requires CHSWC to issue a report to the Legislature on or before Dec. 1, 2022 regarding payments made to those prepaid card accounts.


With respect to peace officers and active firefighting members, existing law extends the time period for commencing workers’ comp proceedings to collect death benefits from 240 weeks from the date of injury to no later than 420 weeks from the date of injury, not to exceed one year after the date of death. Pursuant to existing law, this extension of time pertains to injuries, including but not limited to cancer, tuberculosis, or blood-borne infectious diseases and is only operative until January 1, 2019. This bill removes the Jan. 1, 2019 date of repeal.

U Visa & Injured Workers

Workplace Violence - U Visa - Victim of a Crime - Immigration

Have you been injured at work because of your employer? U Visa

Have you been injured at work because of a fellow employee?

Have you been injured at work because of a violent act?

Have you been injured at work because of any criminal activity?

If you answered YES, to any of the above, you may be eligible for immigration status, a work permit and may be allowed to become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S.  

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Introduction:  The U Visa and How It Can Protect Immigrant Injured Workers

How am I eligible for a U Visa if I was injured at work?  In the workplace, employees can often be victims of:

  • employer exploitation;
  • violations of wage and hour laws;
  • violations of equal employment protections;
  • harassment
  • physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse; and
  • many other fact based problematic issues.

In certain circumstance, any of the above instances may rise to the level of criminal activity.  In those situations, depending on the crime and other factors, workers may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa which may also lead to lawful permanent residence (green card) in the United States.

Employees who resist to report criminal activity to law enforcement because of the fear employer retaliation, being targeted for lack of a current lawful status or being terminated.   However, employees can be empowered to improve their workplace circumstances and conditions with the possibility of U visa protections and relief if they are willing to assist law enforcement.

A U visa may be particularly useful for situations where an employer uses workers’ immigration status to deny them what they legally should be earning, to deny them a workplace that complies with legal safety requirements, or to use their position of power to commit sexual or violent crimes against workers.

Los Angeles Visa Attorneys 

What Is the U Visa’s Purpose?

Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa in 2000 when it passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act.  Its purpose was to encourage immigrants to report crimes to law enforcement and also to afford protection for those willing to cooperate.  Congress intended that the law would protect victims of domestic and other violent crimes, but it also explicitly expressed its intent that the visa protect against qualifying workplace-related crimes.


What Are the Benefits of the U Visa?

U visa status benefits include the following:

  • Lawful status for up to four years;
  • Work authorization;
  • Derivative benefits for qualifying family members; and
  • Eligibility to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident after three years.

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When Is a Worker Eligible for a U Visa?

To be eligible for a U visa, a worker must meet the following criteria:

  1. The worker has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity;
  2. The worker has information about the criminal activity;
  3. The worker has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; and
  4. The criminal activity violated local, state, or federal law, or occurred in the U.S.


What Is the U Visa Petition Process?

To apply for a U visa, the worker or someone on the worker’s behalf must complete the following:

  • Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status.This form requests biographical information about the worker, the worker’s family members, and additional questions to determine the worker’s eligibility. The form is available at
  • Form I-918, Supplement A, Evidence to Establish Derivative U Nonimmigrant Status. This supplement is optional for petitioners who wish to petition for qualifying family members.  A separate Supplement A must be completed for each qualifying family member the worker wishes to file for.  If the worker is under age 21, qualifying family members include siblings under 18, the worker’s spouse, parents, and any children.  Workers above age 21 cannot petition for their parents or siblings, but may petition for their spouse and children.
  • Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification. This supplement is a mandatory certification form that must be completed by a government entity with authority to certify U visas.  That entity must certify that the petitioner is a victim of one of the categories of qualifying criminal activities; has knowledge of the activity; and has helped, is currently helping, or is likely to help in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
  • Supplemental Evidence. The worker must include a personal statement that provides a narrative of the crimes of which the worker is a victim and information about any resulting injuries.  The worker also should submit evidence, including affidavits, doctors’ reports, psychiatric evaluations, therapy session notes, court documents, police reports, or anything else that supports the worker’s claim.

Los Angeles Visa Attorneys 

Which Government Entities Have Certifying Authority?

A number of government entities have the authority to certify U visas, including federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges, or other authorities with responsibility for the investigation or prosecution of qualifying criminal activities.  Also included in that list are federal, state and local agencies that enforce employment and labor laws, such as the U.S. Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the National Labor Relations Board.

Since the U visa is a relatively new visa, there is considerable confusion among government agencies regarding certifying authority and the identification of qualifying criminal activity.  It is important to note, when working with an agency, that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations permit U visa certification on the basis of a crime that is detected, even if the certifying agency has no authority to enforce that crime.  This was partly to further Congress’s “[intent] for individuals to be eligible for U nonimmigrant status at the very early stages of an investigation.”


What Constitutes Qualifying Criminal Activity?

The following is a list of criminal behaviors that were recognized as ones that are often directed against immigrants and that therefore constitute qualifying criminal activity for purposes of U visa eligibility.  The list includes categories of federal, state, or local criminal violations, and it attempts to paint the picture of the variety of activities that may qualify.

There are a few important points to note before reviewing this list:

  1. The list names different categories of crime but is not exhaustive.  Other crimes substantially similar to the listed crimes may also qualify.
  2. “Investigation or prosecution” of a crime includes the detection or investigation of a qualifying crime or criminal activity, as well as prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of the perpetrator of such crime or criminal activity.  USCIS intended this term to be interpreted broadly. Similarly, labor enforcement agencies are permitted to certify U visas on the basis of qualifying criminal activity they detect, even if they lack the authority to prosecute it.



  • Abduction
  • Abusive Sexual Contact
  • Blackmail
  • Domestic Violence
  • Extortion
  • False Imprisonment
  • Felonious Assault
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Felonious Assault
  • Being Held Hostage
  • Incest
  • Involuntary Servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Peonage
  • Perjury
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Slave Trade
  • Torture
  • Trafficking
  • Witness Tampering
  • Unlawful Criminal Restraint
  • Other Related Crimes

Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar.

Also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above, and other related, crimes.

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Qualifying Criminal Activities Commonly Seen in the Workplace

Any of the criminal activity listed in the VTVPA could qualify a worker for a U visa, but the qualifying criminal activities that would be most likely to be found in the workplace are these:

  • Blackmail:An example would be an employer threatening to report a worker’s immigration status to induce the worker to give up money or something of value.
  • Trafficking:This includes recruiting, enticing, harboring, or transporting another person for labor purposes.
  • False imprisonment:Examples include chaining or locking doors and fences to keep workers inside.
  • Involuntary servitude:Defined in 22 U.S.C. § 7102(5) as a condition of servitude induced by means of: (A) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or (B) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process. Examples include threatening harm to the worker if he or she does not continue to work, confiscating passports or other identity documents, using locks or fences to keep workers from leaving the premises, and keeping workers in locations that restrict food, housing, medical care, clothing, and other basic necessities.
  • Obstruction of justice:Examples include destroying, altering, or falsifying wage or work hours records or birth certificates (e.g. to fake a minor’s age).
  • Peonage:Telling a worker that he owes $10,000 for tools and supplies, deducting most or all of a worker’s wages to pay for the debt, and compelling the worker to continue working until the debt is paid off, for example, would constitute peonage.
  • Witness tampering:Threatening or intimidating a witness.
  • Fraud in foreign labor contracting:This is when someone “Knowingly and with intent to defraud, recruits, solicits, or hires a person outside the United States…For purposes of employment in the United States by means of materially false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises regarding that employment…” (8 U.S.C. § 1351.)

Notice that some commonly seen workplaces abuses, such as wage theft, employment discrimination, and collective bargaining violations, are not listed.  Making a good argument that the crime committed against you is similar to one of the listed U visa crimes is crucial, and it is where an experienced attorney can come in very handy. A collective bargaining violation may turn into an obstruction of justice or witness tampering case if the employer threatens to call immigration, or fire an employee, if the employee continues to participate in strikes and protests over the poor working conditions.

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Attorney Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson has represented individual clients in immigration (visa) and workers’ compensation (work injury) matters employed at a variety of companies in California, the United States and through out the world.

Below is a partial list of the employers:

ADP Total Source, Inc.
AGBT – American Express Global Business Travel
Alliance for Sustainable Energy
American Express
American Family Insurance
Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC
Bank of America
Becker’s School Supplies
Blue Coat Systems Inc.
Boston Scientific Corporation
Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Broadcom Corporation
Callaway Golf
Career Education Corporation
Carle Foundation Hospital
Catalina Marketing Corporation
Cedar Sinai Medical Center
Center Light Health System
Cerner Corporation
Chapman University
CIT Group Inc.
City of Coral Gables
Cognizant Technology Solutions
Concentric Rockford Inc.
Credit Suisse
Data Card Corporation
Dealertrack Technologies, Inc.
Deloitte LLP
Enovation Controls
Ernst & Young LLP
Everest Reinsurance Company
Gander Mountain
Golub Corporation D/B/A “Price Chopper”
Health Net Inc.
Houston Methodist
Humana Inc.
Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.
Jack Henry & Associates
John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA)
JPMorgan Chase
Lahey Clinic Foundation, Inc.
Lakeside Union School District
Latham & Watkins LLP
Laureate Education, Inc.
Legal Resources
Leggett & Platt
Levi Strauss & Company
Luther Holding Company DBA Luther Automotive
Madison Square Garden
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
Meridian Health System
Merrill Communications, LLC
MITRE Corporation
Morgan Stanley
NCCI Holdings, Inc.
NetApp, Inc.
Northeast Rehabilitation Health Network
Northrop Grumman Corporation
NVIDIA Corporation
NYU Hospitals
Office Depot
Palomar Health
Presence Health
Prudential Insurance Company
Purdue University
Raytheon Company
Recall Corporation
Regus Management Group LLC
Sage Colleges
Scripps Health
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.
SHPS, Inc.
Southern Research Institute
Southwest Research Institute
St. Catherine University
Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Staples, Inc.
State of Georgia
State Street
Synopsys, Inc.
The Knot
Tufts University
U-Haul International
United Nations Staff Union
United Rentals, Inc.
United Technologies Corporation Aerostructures Division
University of North Florida
UPS – United Parcel Service, Inc.
Vail Resorts Management Company
Valdosta City Schools
Vantiv, Inc.
Visa Inc.
Vitas Hospice Services LLC
Western Asset Management Co.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Zale Corporation

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