News Digest 1-7-2021


California: Simi Valley contractor pleads guilty to fraud

A 53-year-old Simi Valley, California contractor who pleaded guilty to multiple counts of workers’ compensation fraud could face more than 10 years in prison. The alleged fraud resulted in more than $176,000 of underpaid insurance premiums to State Compensation Insurance Fund and more than $39,000 in underpaid taxes to the State of California Unemployment and Disability Insurance Tax Program. Simi Valley Acorn


Ohio BWC extends deadline for indoor air quality assistance program

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has announced a new deadline, March 31, 2021, to apply for reimbursement from the COVID-19 Indoor Air Quality Assistance Program, a program funded by $28 million in federal CARES Act dollars and administered by the BWC. The program offers up to $15,000 for eligible entities to inspect and assess their air quality needs and address those needs through portable air filtration systems, new filtration systems, maintenance on current systems, and other interventions implemented on or after March 1, 2020, through the new deadline. Richland Source


New York: Corrections officer falsely claimed he took time off for military drills

A former Elmira prison officer pleaded guilty prior to Christmas to falsely claiming he took time off work to attend military drills, which resulted in him receiving $3,300 in unearned wages. He sustained an injury at the prison in January 2019, leaving him unable to work and eligible for workers’ compensation, according to the New York State Inspector General’s Office. Elmira Star-Gazette


COVID-19 sparks more than 1,000 workplace-related lawsuits in 2020

In 2020, the pandemic led employees to file 1,005 workplace lawsuits in state and federal courts, according to the Seyfarth Shaw law firm. More than half involved layoffs and firings, while nearly 200 were related to workplace safety. An even bigger wave is expected in 2021, according to one of the firm’s partners. USA Today