DWC Announces Virtual Hearings Starting Jan. 12, 2022

Urgent Report

DWC Announces Virtual Hearings Starting Jan. 12, 2022

On Jan. 11, 2022, the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) announced that all hearings would be conducted virtually as of Jan. 12, 2022. That means that all trials, lien trials, expedited hearings and Special Adjudication Unit (SAU) trials will be heard telephonically. Mandatory settlement conferences, priority conferences, status conferences, SAU conferences and lien conferences will continue to be held on the individually assigned judges’ conference lines.

The decision to pause in-person hearings was made because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The pause will continue through the end of the month and is to be re-evaluated then. DWC hearing notices will not change, but parties are given notice that as of Jan. 12, 2022, if a trial, expedited hearing, lien trial or SAU trial is set at a district office, all parties should call the judges’ assigned conference line and not appear in person.

The conference lines are found on the DWC webpage. All division offices will remain open. If parties have questions on a specific case, they are instructed to contact the DWC call center at (909) 383-4522.

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, new regulations were adopted regarding electronic hearings, and, per CCR 10815, a party may object to an electronic hearing by filing a written objection showing good cause. During the prior period when in-person testimony was suspended, the WCAB issued a significant panel decision in Gao v. Chevron Corp. (2021) 86 CCC 44 stating that it would be “inappropriate to institute a blanket rule that it is per se unreasonable to continue a case to allow for in-person testimony,” but that “the default position should be that trials proceed remotely, in the absence of some clear reason why the facts of a specific case require a continuance.”

So, a party still may request that a trial be conducted in person but must present good cause for it –– a clear reason for an in-person hearing must be given. Even if good cause is established, however, it’s unlikely that the DWC will allow in-person testimony during the current pause of in-person hearings. Instead, it probably will continue the matter until it believes in-person hearings can be conducted safely.

For a detailed discussion of the impact of COVID-19 on appearances before the board, review the section on Court Appearances from our partners at Michael Sullivan & Associates’ Navigating COVID-19: A Legal Guide For California Employers.

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About IEA

IEA is the leading provider of professional training and education in workers’ compensation, disability management, risk management and human resources. To learn more about our programs and services, visit our website at www.ieatraining.org.

Absence & Disability Management – Convincing Your Senior Leadership to Invest

Absence & Disability Management
Convincing Your Senior Leadership to Invest

December 15th, 2021, by ShaunTeah L. Radcliffe, CPDM

$6.2 million, $8.6 million, $20 million, $125 million, $125 million, $175 million, what do all these numbers have in common?  Are they lottery jackpot payouts?  Close but not quite. These are dollar amounts that medium to large corporations have paid out as settlements for missteps in the absence and disability space.

Absence and disability management is a highly regulated area with many loopholes and plenty of opportunities not to get it right. Unfortunately, many organizations may follow that adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As a result, the absence and disability area, although an essential part of organizational compliance, flies under the radar and is overlooked until the EEOC comes a-knocking.  Just remember, even a well-oiled machine requires some form of maintenance to keep it in working order, and it can’t be overlooked forever. Otherwise, as we have proven in the introduction, a blind eye may have dire dollar consequences.

How do you get your senior leaders excited about investing in this area? How do you ensure that you have the correct size team to meet your organization’s absence and disability demands?  How do you educate your managers to spot potential exposure and engage absence and disability professionals early in the process? Finally, how do you ensure that your team and your organization can quickly adapt to the ever-changing federal, state, and even local regulations in this area?

You can use attention grabbers like I did because money definitely talks.

However, the more profound question is beyond the dollar signs. It is often difficult to justify spending when you cannot quantify actual dollar savings because regular payroll expenses often mask absence and disability costs.  Absence and Disability Professionals are in a unique situation. They are at the level where they can gather valuable information and insight from a diverse group of managers, human resources representatives, and employees to detect when processes may not work or where there are gaps in synergies.  So how do we take these learnings and feed them up the chain so that this valuable information becomes useful to senior leaders?

Does your organization support a culture where ideas can be presented up the chain?  If not, what’s the workaround?  How will improving the absence and disability space in your organization improve employee morale, reduce wellness and benefits costs, reduce temporary labor costs and increase and maintain productivity when those unplanned absences occur so that the business continues without missing a beat?

We can’t answer all of the absence and disability management questions in this short blog post, but have I piqued your interest?  Have you started to ask yourself questions about available resources to assist with solving how to get senior leadership’s attention?

The three-part Certified Professional Disability Management (CPDM) course explores these questions and many more.

ShaunTeah Radcliffe

ShaunTeah L. Radcliffe, CPDM is a subject matter expert in absence and disability management with more than 10 years of professional experience in managing and training professionals to ensure compliance and resolution of complex leave of absence and workplace accommodation requests. ShaunTeah is a contributor to the development of IEA’s newly revamped Certified Professional in Disability Management (CPDM) curriculum

About IEA
The Insurance Education (IEA) is the leading provider of professional development programs in Workers’ Compensation, Disability Management, Risk Management and Human Resources.

IEA Announces Disability Management Training Scholarship



Welcome to IEA!

Thinking of getting specialized in Disability Management?  Concerned about financing your tuition? Consider applying for IEA’s Fall 2021 CPDM scholarship. IEA offers funding equal to tuition for one class ($599) for eligible candidates.

Apply by September 17th and get started on your Disability Management designation as early as September 23rd.

How Will I Benefit from Earning the CPDM?

Managing leaves and absences is a profound expense for any business operation. When you learn the tools and mechanisms for reducing these costs you not only add value to your organization, you optimize your own career security by distinguishing yourself as an expert with proven strategies that boost profits and increase productivity for any size organization.

I would recommend IEA to any professional in the industry who is seeking on-going training or certification. (Kianga Humphries, TRISTAR Insurance Group)

Am I ELigible for the Scholarship?

You’re eligible if you are interested in a career in Absence & Leave Management, are NOT eligible for tuition reimbursement from an employer and have not received this scholarship in the past.

What Does the Scholarship Cover?

The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition for the first of three courses in the Disability Management Designation. The value of the scholarship is $599. There are no additional fees for books or exams. You’ll get an entire course completely free of cost.


APPLY HERE BY SEPTEMBER 17TH.   We’ll announce a winner on September 20th. Good luck! We hope to welcome you to class very soon. 

Learn More About the CPDM Components Here

Check out the three courses that comprise the CPDM designation here.


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I would recommend IEA to any professional in the industry who is seeking on-going training or certification. (Kianga Humphries, TRISTAR Insurance Group)


Welcome to IEA!

Friends of Sullivan on Comp can avail of 10% discount on IEA live instructor-led semester courses and on-demand designation and certificate programs.

Use promo code: “SOC-FRIEND” at the online checkout.





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