IEA’s CPDM1 Course Newly Updated
IEA’s has announced the launch of its newly updated CPDM1 Course.
Written in the era of COVID, this curriculum addresses the challenges facing employers in the ever changing landscape
of disability management. With contribution from prominent experts in employment law, disability management, human
resources and disability management, this course offers the mission critical skills needed to address the complex world of
absence and leave.
State-of-the-art Learning Technology
CPDM1 is newly designed to meet best practices in how adults learn most efficiently. The course leverages interactive
on-demand modules combined with weekly live webinars led by subject matter experts. Participants have access to
the latest relevant case studies as well as a discussion forum for real-time response to current topics in the field.
About the CPDM Designation
The Certified Professional in Disability Management (CPDM) is the nation’s foremost designation for professionals
in absence and disability management. Only three courses! Participants move through the courses sequentially to
earn the designation. Graduates of the program possess the mission critical skills needed to develop and implement
an effective and cost-efficient plan that saves money, increases productivity and keeps pace with compliance.
First Course – CPDM1 Starts Feb 25th
The first course in the series, CPDM1 Essentials in Disability Management, starts February 25th. Live webinars take
place weekly on Thursdays from 11:30am-12:30pm PST from February 25th to May 6th, 2021.
Learn More and Enroll
IEA is the leading provider of professional development and training opportunities in disability management,
workers’ compensation, risk management and human resources. Learn more about us at www.ieatraining.org
Gund v. County of Trinity: Application of the Exclusive
Remedy Rule to Members of the Public Assisting in Active
On Aug. 27, 2020, in Gund v. County of Trinity, the California Supreme Court issued a decision that highlights what injured workers must
give up as part of the compensation bargain.
Labor Code §3602 states, “Where the conditions of compensability set forth in Section 3600 concur, the right to recover such compensation
is … the sole and exclusive remedy of the employee or his or her dependents against the employer.”
The exclusive remedy rule does more than just establish the jurisdiction of the WCAB. The purpose of the exclusive remedy rule is to protect
the employer from unlimited liability for the industrial injuries of its employees –– to protect the employer’s side of the compensation bargain.
Under the compensation bargain, the employer assumes liability for industrial injury or death without regard to fault in exchange for limitations
on the amount of that liability. The employee is given relatively swift and certain payment of benefits to cure or relieve the effects of industrial
injury without having to prove fault but, in exchange, gives up the wider range of damages potentially available in civil court.
FACTS OF THE CASE
On March 13, 2011, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) received a phone call from a female caller who whispered, “Help me.” The call was
relayed to the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department, which was almost 100 miles away from the caller. A deputy sheriff knew that the Gunds lived
near the caller. He called Norma Gund and explained to her that the neighbor had called 911. He asked if Mrs. Gund would check on the neighbor,
because he was still hours away. The deputy also asked if Mr. Gund was home, and when Mrs. Gund said no, he told Mrs. Gund not to go to the
neighbor’s home by herself.
When Mrs. Gund asked what was said in the 911 call, the deputy sheriff responded, “Help me.” The deputy sheriff did not tell Mrs. Gund that the
caller had whispered, that the CHP dispatcher believed she had been trying to call secretly or that the dispatcher’s return calls went straight to
voicemail. The deputy then mentioned the impending arrival of a major storm, which “must be what this is all about,” and stated, “It’s probably
no big deal.”
Believing the emergency to be weather related, the Gunds went to the neighbor’s home. Mrs. Gund went in while Mr. Gund stayed in the truck.
Mrs. Gund was attacked by a man who had just killed the neighbor and her boyfriend. Mr. Gund heard the commotion, entered the home and
saw the man holding down his wife and cutting her throat with a knife. The man then attacked Mr. Gund by tasing him, punching him and
cutting his throat. Despite their injuries, both the Gunds were able to escape.
The Gunds later filed a civil action against Trinity County (the County) and the deputy sheriff, alleging that the deputy had sought to secure
their assistance by falsely assuring them the neighbor’s call was probably weather related and knowingly withholding pertinent facts. The
County and deputy sheriff asserted that workers’ compensation was the exclusive remedy because they sustained their injuries while engaged
in active law enforcement service under LC 3366. The Gunds argued that §3366 did not apply because of the deputy sheriff’s alleged
misrepresentations, and because they did not understand themselves to be engaged in “active law enforcement service” when they complied
with his request.
THE COURT’S DECISION
The California Supreme Court majority upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision that workers’ compensation was the Gunds’ exclusive remedy.
It explained that under LC 3366, a civilian is entitled to workers’ compensation from a public entity if: (1) a peace officer asked for assistance
with a task that qualifies as active law enforcement; and (2) the civilian was injured while engaged in that requested service. The majority
found that there was no dispute that the Gunds assisted at the request of peace officer –– the only dispute was whether the requested assistance
involved “active law enforcement services.” The majority concluded that responding to a 911 call for unspecified help was “active law enforcement”
for the purposes of §3366.
The majority explained that although “active law enforcement service” does not include every conceivable function a peace officer can perform,
it concluded that the phrase includes a peace officer’s duties directly concerned with functions such as enforcing laws, investigating and preventing
crime and protecting the public. It stated, “An overly narrow interpretation of active law enforcement service, or one that turns on subjective factors,
would leave without recourse many individuals injured while obliging a peace officer’s request for assistance, undermining its civilian-protective
The majority said, “The workers’ compensation model makes the public agency liable for the costs of the injuries of people assisting police with
requested active law enforcement service, whether or not the requesting officer was ultimately at fault.” It added, “The simpler, quicker availability
of these benefits can incentivize individuals to oblige a peace officer’s request for help, because they will ostensibly be less concerned with the financial
consequences of potential injury or death.”
The majority concluded that the Gunds were deemed to be employees under LC 3366 because responding to a 911 call of an unknown nature was “active
law enforcement” under §3366. It rejected the Gunds argument that whether they engaged in active law enforcement depended in part on what they
subjectively believed to be true about the 911 call. It stated, “Determining whether an individual provides active law enforcement service remains an
It added that the deputy sheriff’s omissions or misrepresentations did not change the conclusion. “Even when an employer intentionally conceals and
misrepresents hazards in order to induce an individual to accept employment,” it explained, “workers’ compensation is the individual’s exclusive remedy.”
The majority also stated that “allowing allegations of misrepresentation to take claims like this outside the workers’ compensation system would disturb
the carefully balanced scheme the Legislature designed.” It concluded, “Simply alleging a request for assistance contained a misrepresentation, without
more, does not preclude application of section 3366 and the exclusivity provision.”
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Groban disagreed that the deputy sheriff asked the Gunds to perform an active law enforcement task. He believed it was
objectively reasonable for the Gunds to believe they were asked to render neighborly assistance with a relatively risk-free, weather-related problem.
He would hold that the Gunds were not subject to §3366.
ANALYSIS OF THE DECISION
The California Supreme Court no doubt recognized that this was a “tragic case.” By limiting the Gunds’ recovery to workers’ compensation benefits,
the majority understood that the Gunds would not receive all of the remedies available to them in a civil tort claim.
Their decision was no doubt made more difficult by the omission and/or misrepresentations of the deputy sheriff. There is no question that the Gunds
would not have gone to their neighbor’s house unprepared, nor would Mrs. Gund have entered the house alone, if they did not subjectively believe the
911 call was anything more than weather related. Moreover, the Gunds never knew, or even considered, that their civil remedies would be taken away
by responding to the 911 call on the deputy’s request.
Nevertheless, the majority recognized that their decision would affect not just the Gunds, but other workers as well. They explained, “[W]e cannot
fashion a rule that somehow shrinks the scope of workers’ compensation for the Gunds ….” Moreover, the majority recognized that workers’
compensation benefits were far from meaningless, and that in most cases, such compensation provides a much simpler and quicker path for injured
civilians to be compensated.
Employers and insurers often believe that workers’ compensation benefits are too easy to obtain. They often feel that the system is too liberal. It’s easy
to forget that injured workers give up the right to greater recovery in civil courts in exchange for the limited benefits available in the workers’ compensation
system. It’s easy to forget that the exclusive remedy rule becomes a shield when employees file civil claims. The Gund decision is a reminder that in some
cases, workers’ compensation benefits may not be adequate.
Gund may be obtained from the California courts’ website at: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S249792.PDF.
Article published by kind permission of Michael Sullivan & Associations L.L.P.
IEA Open House
IEA faculty and staff invite you to our upcoming open house! Join us to learn about your training options for Fall 2020 courses.
Great Q&A opportunity if you’re still on the fence about the next step in your professional advancement. Get the nitty gritty on
Meeting will be held by zoom! September 15th, 2020 from 5pm to 5:45pm pst. Register here and be sure to tell tell your friends
and colleagues too!
The Insurance Education Association serves the community by creating and delivering professional development and continuing
education in workers’ compensation, disability management and risk management.
Covid and The Courts –
What Will it Mean for Workers Compensation?
A series of recent lawsuits might give employers a sneak peak into how the courts may handle workers’ compensation
litigation in the evolving era of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the past three months major corporations such as Amazon, Walmart, and fast-food giant McDonalds have responded
to lawsuits stemming from alleged inadequate implementation of, and adherence to, public health directives aimed at
protecting the workforce against the spread of the virus.
In the case of Amazon, three Staten Island warehouse workers have sued the giant corporation for failing to adhere to
public health guidelines thus causing injury and death to employees and their families. Plaintiffs seek an injunction
requiring Amazon to comply with public health guidelines as well as an order that would declare the company a public
In April, a wrongful death suit was filed against Walmart by the family of a deceased employee who died from
complications of Covid-19. Plaintiffs assert that there were several employees who displayed symptoms and
that another employee died a few days later.
Fast food Giant McDonalds faces a lawsuit from a group of Chicago workers over whether the company adhered
to expert guidance on how to protect its workforce from the spread of Covid 19. The court entered a preliminary
injunction requiring McDonald’s to enforce mask wearing policies and provide social-distance training.
What Will it Mean for Workers’ Compensation?
As the courts are just beginning to respond to such lawsuits it remains to be seen how the gavel will fall in terms of
courts’ and juries’ sympathies. But given the unpredictable and potentially devastating financial impact of trial
outcomes, it seems abundantly prudent that employers take actions to ensure that public health directives such
as compulsory mask wearing, and social distancing, are stringently upheld even when states do not mandate the
IEA and Workers’ Compensation
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