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Chapter 4.5. Division of Workers' Compensation
Subchapter 1. Administrative Director--Administrative Rules
Article 1.6. Ethical Standards of Workers' Compensation Referees; Enforcement of Standards

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§9721.2. Gifts, Honoraria and Travel.

(a) No workers' compensation administrative law judge shall accept any gift or favor, the acceptance of which is prohibited by the Code of Judicial Ethics, or the transmission of which is prohibited by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California.

(b) No workers' compensation administrative law judge shall accept gifts from any single source in any calendar year with a total value of more than the greater of three hundred ninety dollars ($390) and the amount specified for that year in regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission interpreting Government Code § 89503 (currently Title 2, Regulation §18940.2). This section shall not be construed to authorize the receipt of gifts that would otherwise be prohibited by the Code of Judicial Ethics, Government Code section 19990, the Political Reform Act of 1974 and any amendment thereto, the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California, or any other provision of law.

(c) The limitation of subdivision (b) shall not apply to or limit the following:

  (1) Payments, advances, or reimbursements for travel and related lodging and subsistence described in subdivision (d).  


  (2) Wedding gifts and gifts exchanged between individuals on birthdays, holidays and other similar occasions, provided that the gifts exchanged are not substantially disproportionate in value.  


  (3) A gift from any person whose pre-existing relationship with a judge would disqualify the judge under the Code of Judicial Ethics from hearing a case involving that person.  


(d) Payments, advances, or reimbursements, for travel, including actual transportation and related lodging and subsistence which is reasonably related to a judicial or governmental purpose, or to an issue of state, national, or international public policy, are excluded from the limits prescribed by subdivision (b) if any of the following apply:

  (1) The travel is provided by a government, a governmental agency or authority, a foreign government, a bona fide public or private educational institution, as defined in Section 203 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, a nonprofit organization which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or by a person domiciled outside the United States who substantially satisfies the requirements for tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  


  (2) The travel is provided by the California State Bar or a section of the California State Bar, a state bar association, or professional association of judges in connection with testimony before a governmental body or attendance at any professional function hosted by the bar, bar association or professional association of judges, and the lodging and subsistence expenses are limited to the day immediately preceding, the day of, and the day immediately following the professional function.  


(e) Payments, advances, and reimbursements for travel not described in either subdivision (c) of this Section or subdivision (f)(8) of Section 9720.2 are subject to the limit in subdivision (b).

(f) No workers' compensation administrative law judge shall accept any honorarium unless allowed in writing by the Court Administrator, if either:

  (1) the cost of the honorarium is significantly paid for by attorneys who practice before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board; or  


  (2) the judge would be required to report the receipt of income or gifts from the source of payment for the honorarium on the judge's statement of economic interests  


(g) This section does not apply to any honorarium that is not used and within 30 days after receipt, is either returned to the donor or delivered to the Controller for deposit in the General Fund without being claimed as a deduction from income for tax purposes.

(h) The Court Administrator shall enforce the prohibitions of this section.

(i) Judges may not accept honoraria or travel allowed by the Court Administrator, and not otherwise prohibited by this section in connection with any public or private conference, convention, meeting, social event, or like gathering, the cost of which is significantly paid for by attorneys who practice before the board, unless the Court Administrator, or his or her designee, has provided prior approval in writing to the workers' compensation administrative law judge allowing him or her to accept the payments. This section shall not be construed to authorize the acceptance of an honorarium, as defined by Government Code section 89501, the acceptance of which is prohibited by Government Code section 89502.

(j) Honoraria to give a speech, participate in a panel or seminar, or provide a similar service, are allowed within the meaning of Labor Code section 123.6 where the event is sponsored by one of the following:

  A professional association of judges, the State Bar of California, a section of the State Bar of California, a government, a governmental agency or authority, a foreign government, a state, national or local bar association not comprised primarily of either defense or applicant workers' compensation attorneys, a foreign bar association, an international service organization, a bona fide public or private educational institution as defined in Section 203 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, a nonprofit organization which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or by a person domiciled outside the United States who substantially satisfies the requirements for tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  


(k) Upon request to the Court Administrator by a judge, the Court Administrator may approve honoraria and travel reimbursement to give a speech, participate in a panel or seminar, or provide a similar service, where the event is sponsored by a person or entity not listed in subdivision (j) of this section.

(l) Payment, provision, or reimbursement for travel in connection with a judge's speech, participation in a panel or seminar, or provision of a similar service, if the event is sponsored by a professional association of judges, the State Bar of California, or a section of the State Bar of California, a government, a governmental agency or authority, a foreign government, a foreign bar association, a bona fide public or private educational institution as defined in Section 203 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, a nonprofit organization which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or by a person domiciled outside the United States who substantially satisfies the requirements for tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is allowed within the meaning of Labor Code section 123.6 for actual transportation and any reasonably necessary lodging and subsistence provided directly in connection with the speech, panel, seminar, or service, provided that the lodging and subsistence expenses are limited to the day immediately preceding, the day of, and the day immediately following the speech, panel participation or seminar, and the travel is within the United States.

(m) Payment, provision, or reimbursement for a judge's travel, including actual transportation and related lodging and subsistence, that is reasonably related to a legislative or governmental purpose, or to an issue of state, national, or international public policy, that is provided by a government, a governmental agency or authority, a foreign government, a bona fide public or private educational institution as defined in Section 203 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, a nonprofit organization which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or by a person domiciled outside the United States who substantially satisfies the requirements for tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is allowed within the meaning of Labor Code section 123.6, and may also be accepted when prior approval of the Court Administrator is not required.

(n) Upon approval by the Court Administrator, payment, provision, or reimbursement for a judge's travel in connection with a speech, participation in a panel or seminar, or provision of a similar service, if the event is sponsored by, or if the payment or reimbursement is to be made by, an association or group of attorneys who practice before the appeals board, will be allowed for the following:

Refreshments and similar non-cash nominal benefits provided to a judge during the entire event at which the judge gives a speech, participates in a panel or seminar, or provides a similar service, actual transportation and any reasonably necessary lodging and subsistence provided directly in connection with the speech, panel, seminar, or service. Reasonably necessary subsistence is limited to meals and beverages served contemporaneously with a breakfast, dinner, or luncheon speech, panel participation or seminar, and to meals consumed while traveling to or from the activity, limited to the days of necessary travel.

(o) When prior approval of the Court Administrator is not required, payment or reimbursement for travel in connection with a speech, participation in a panel or seminar, or provision of a similar service, if the event is sponsored by a professional association of judges, the State Bar of California, or a section of the State Bar of California, a government, a governmental agency or authority, a foreign government, a foreign bar association, an international service organization, a bona fide public or private educational institution as defined in Section 203 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, a nonprofit organization which is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or by a person domiciled outside the United States who substantially satisfies the requirements for tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, may be accepted for actual transportation and any reasonably necessary lodging and subsistence provided directly in connection with the speech, panel, seminar, or service, provided that the lodging and subsistence expenses are limited to the day immediately preceding, the day of, and the day immediately following the speech, panel participation or seminar, and the travel is within the United States.


     Note: Authority cited: Sections 123.6, 133 and 5307.3, Labor Code. Reference: Sections 111 and 123.6, Labor Code.  


 HISTORY 
   
1. New section filed 11-30-95; operative 12-1-95. Submitted to OAL for printing only pursuant to Government Code section 11351 (Register 95, No. 48).

2. Amendment filed 8-25-2008; operative 9-24-2008 (Register 2008, No. 35).

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