Recent Blog Posts

  • Ohio updates workers’ compensation laws for remote workers By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Over two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began and many employees switched from coming into a workplace to working at home, Ohio has amended the workers’ compensation laws to reflect the current work environment. Effective Sep. 21, 2022, this new legislation expands the definition of a compensable workplace injury to include some injuries sustained within the employee’s home, if certain criteria are met. What counts as a workplace injury? The determination for whether an injury is work-related (regardless of... More
  • Updates on Ohio workers’ compensation hearings: WebEx has arrived By Rebecca Kopp Levine    After a year of conducting workers’ compensation hearings in Ohio via a teleconference bridge, on April 19, 2021, the Ohio Industrial Commission switched its hearing format to the WebEx platform. The format switch was necessitated by connection problems with the previous teleconference bridge. Due to privacy concerns, among other issues, the hearing officers are only using the WebEx audio service. Full video hearings will only take place if a party is hearing impaired and needs to be able... More
  • Vaccine policies and workers’ compensation By Rebecca Kopp Levine    The attorneys behind the Employer Law Report Blog present the second blog in our three-part series on the COVID-19 vaccine and employer considerations. The COVID-19 vaccination process has begun in the U.S., but at this point, the COVID-19 vaccine is not widely available to most employees. As explored in Part 1 of our series on the COVID-19 vaccine, many employers are deciding whether to require or incentivize their employees to obtain the vaccination. In addition to the issues... More
  • Looking back at 2020: Did the COVID-19 pandemic cause the predicted onslaught of workers’ compensation claims? By Rebecca Kopp Levine    A new year presents an opportunity to reevaluate the prior year and make any necessary changes for the upcoming year. Although typically this period of reflection relates to healthy eating and exercise regimens, it is also a relevant exercise for evaluating the status of the workers’ compensation system. In March and April 2020, we prepared for what we expected to be a large number of newly filed workers’ compensation claims alleging employees contracted COVID-19 in the workplace. Given... More
  • NFL is tackling off-duty conduct to reduce COVID-19 spread. Can your business, too? By Rebecca Kopp Levine and Porter Wright    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses across the country, employers are faced with the difficult question of how to keep their workplaces safe. Some employers are attempting to restrict off-duty employee conduct to limit high-risk behavior. The National Football League (NFL) is one employer taking steps to regulate off-duty conduct to reduce risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL has apparently reached an agreement with the players’ association that restricts the players’... More
  • Hiring ex-offenders may reduce Ohio workers’ compensation liability By Rebecca Kopp Levine    In an effort to encourage private employers to hire ex-offenders, legislators in the Ohio House have introduced a bill to create an Ohio Reentry Program. The proposed bill creates a fund to reimburse employers for employing ex-offenders for at least two years. As part of the proposed legislation, the bill amends part of the workers’ compensation laws. Specifically, for workers’ compensation purposes, ex-offenders hired through this program will be considered employees of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation, rather... More
  • Will Ohio Workers’ Compensation laws change to address COVID-19 claims? By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Earlier this year, Ohio legislators introduced multiple bills to expand Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We previously reported the proposed legislation here and here. Lawmakers sought to create a presumption that certain employees, including first responders, corrections officers, food processing plant employees and retail food establishment employees, who contracted COVID-19, did so in the course of and arising out of their employment. The proposed change provided employees with an easier route to establishing... More
  • Update to Ohio lawmakers’ efforts to expand Ohio workers’ compensation laws in response to COVID-19 pandemic By Rebecca Kopp Levine    As we previously reported in this blog post, Ohio lawmakers have proposed multiple bills that would expand Ohio workers’ compensation laws in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, the Ohio House passed an amended version of the previously introduced legislation. Ohio House Bill 606 establishes a presumption that, if certain employees, including first responders, corrections officers, food processing plant employees and retail food establishment employees contracted COVID-19, they contracted it in the course of and arising out of their... More
  • COVID-19 return to work considerations: Emphasis on safety By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Employers face many considerations when restarting operations and reopening businesses after the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. In planning for the return to full operations, employers will need to take steps to avoid new workers’ compensation issues. First and foremost, employers will need to conduct additional safety training. It may be appropriate for an employer to conduct virtual safety training prior to returning employees to the workplace. Given that social distancing practices may have altered workspaces, employees may require additional... More
  • Proposed changes to Ohio workers’ compensation laws react to COVID-19 pandemic By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Ohio lawmakers have proposed multiple bills that would expand the Ohio workers’ compensation laws in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of March 2020, lawmakers introduced House Bill 573 that would include COVID-19 as a statutorily defined occupational disease under the Ohio workers’ compensation laws, similar to other occupational diseases such as asbestosis. The language introduces a new standard creating a presumption that any employee who contracted COVID-19 and was required to work outside of their... More