Over the last 3-5 years there has been a movement by Carriers to disassociate themselves from preparing Employer General Releases when completing a settlement with a Claimant. This is motivated by fear as there was significant litigation by sue-happy Claimant’s alleging collusion between their Employer and its W/C Carrier over employment issues (a baseless charge). Plus, a W/C Carrier does not cover employment claims, those claims are covered by EPLI policy.
Yet, there is no denying the interconnectedness or “yoking” between the Employer’s interests and the Carrier’s interests when it comes to settlement. After all, when an E/C settles a claim it behooves both co-defendants to insure that Claimant resigns from her position to avoid future W/C exposure. Plus, an Employer is still exposed to the potential W/C retaliation claim per section 440.205, and the possibility of a claim with the American with Disabilities Act. Finally, since almost every W/C claim involves an investigation of past and future wages, every Employer is exposed to an overtime or PTO claim which falls under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In truth, when E/C’s settle their W/C claims, they should look to trying to resolve every aspect of the employee/employer relationship into one nice package. Now, the First DCA just released an opinion affirming this policy. (more…)