Dear Blue Collar,
Q: My worker is on WCB for a coronavirus infection. His position is home-based and he rarely visits the office, nor has be been making in-person sales calls. Should we appeal?
A: You can and you should appeal if work-relatedness is in doubt. COVID-19 isn’t (yet) recognized as an occupational disease, and therefore, WCB adjudicates each corona claim on its own merit. For essential workers who are at greater risk of contracting the disease (i.e. health care workers), work causation will likely be presumed unless the contrary is proven. But for those employees at lesser risk of exposure (i.e. self-isolating telecommuters), a clear linkage between the illness and employment is required for claim acceptance.
We wish your worker a speedy recovery. But if the claim was accepted on speculative grounds, it’s important to challenge the decision. This holds especially true if the worker develops long-term or permanent impairments, as the ensuing claims costs could seriously impact your premiums.