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Recent Blog Posts

  • 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
  • What parties need to know about tolled statutes of limitations for Ohio workers’ compensation claims By Rebecca Kopp Levine and Matt Ambrose    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 197 (HB 197) on March 27, 2020, which tolls numerous workers’ compensation deadlines set to expire between March 9, 2020 and July 30, 2020. Therefore, any relevant statute of limitations related to workers’ compensation claims will not expire during the time period between March 9, 2020 and July 30, 2020.  This change will impact several key events in the workers’ compensation claim... More
  • Ohio BWC guidance for employers during COVID-19 outbreak By Rebecca Kopp Levine    On March 19, 2020, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) issued some guidance to employers and employees to explain how the BWC is continuing to operate during this crisis. The BWC is continuing to process claims. For employers, the present changes may result in increased claim costs attributed to their risk. The BWC is permitting benefits to continue while suspending some of the employees’ requirements to maintain those benefits. For example, employees are not required to continue... More
  • Workers’ compensation implications of COVID-19 in the workplace By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Presently there are many uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. It is certainly possible employees will allege they contracted coronavirus while at work. Given that the United States has not experienced a pandemic in a significant period of time, this is a gray area for employers. Most states do not have specific legislation addressing this situation. In general, any illness, injury or occupational disease could be a compensable claim if it arises out of the course and scope of... More
  • Are Ohio workers’ compensation laws changing? By Rebecca Kopp Levine    As we reported in June, the Ohio legislature attempted to make substantial changes to workers’ compensation laws as part of the overall budget. However, after the House and Senate could not reach an agreement on many parts of the budget, Gov. DeWine permitted the legislature additional time to reach a compromise. The actual budget submitted to and signed by the governor contained NO changes to the workers’ compensation laws. Conspicuously absent from the budget was the House’s... More
  • Applicants may be required to declare citizenship status when filing for Ohio workers’ compensation benefits By Rebecca Kopp Levine    The Ohio House of Representatives passed a two year $645 million workers’ compensation budget on June 5, 2019. As part of the budget bill, a provision was added that requires anyone who files an application for a workers’ compensation claim through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, to identify themselves as either a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen with permission to work in the country or an illegal alien or an unauthorized alien. All applicants may be eligible... More
  • Resources and events for employers offered by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation By Rebecca Kopp Levine    The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) hosts monthly webinars for employers to learn more about workers’ compensation topics. The brief webinars help employers stay up to date on developments in the workers’ compensation system. You can visit the employer webinar webpage on the Ohio BWC website to learn more about upcoming webinars and register to attend. In addition, the BWC is hosting its Fourth Annual Workers’ Compensation Medical and Health Symposium on April 26-27, 2019 at the Great Columbus... More
  • Employer’s good faith offer to reinstate employee as part of settlement negotiations in exchange for dismissing a lawsuit is not considered retaliation By Rebecca Kopp Levine    In a recent case, Bresler v. Rock, 2018-Ohio-5138, an employee incongruously argued that an employer’s offer to reinstate his employment in exchange for dismissal of his pending lawsuit was a retaliatory action.  The Ohio Court of Appeals soundly rejected that contention. Rather, employers can continue to negotiate settlements of discrimination allegations and include conditions of dismissal of lawsuits and releases of all claims and courts should not consider it a retaliatory action. At the age of 60, after... More