One of the most important things an employer can do is to assure the safety and protection of his or her workers. Adhering to safety codes, maintaining a clean and orderly work environment and properly training employees are minimal standards for keeping workers from harm. Additionally, California law requires employers to carry workers' compensation insurance to provide financial coverage for employees who are injured on the job. Such coverage is not optional if a business owner has employees.
One business owner in California was recently convicted of failing to provide insurance for his workers. In fact, the man admitted he had a previous conviction for the same offense. As a licensed contractor, the man claimed he was exempt from the requirement to carry workers' compensation insurance because he had no employees. However, a code compliance officer noticed that the man had an employee with him at a tree trimming job, and the officer turned him in to the Contractors State Licensing Board.
The business owner was sentenced to 40 days in jail with three years probation. In addition, he must pay a fine of $10,000, which will be donated to the Uninsured Employers Fund. The judge agreed to suspend $5,000 of his fine and to substitute the remainder of his jail sentence for community service.
When workers are injured on the job, they may rely on the benefits of workers' compensation to sustain them and their families. However, if an employee finds that his employer does not carry insurance in accord with the law, the worker may need legal assistance. It may be the case that the worker faces resistance from his boss or the insurance company, and a lawyer can step in and fight for the worker's right to compensation.
Source: workerscompensation.com, "CA Man Gets Jail Time For Failure To Secure Workers' Comp", April 21, 2017