The regulations incorporate the standards in the California Code of Judicial Conduct, create additional standards and ethical safeguards, and create an Ethics Advisory Committee to receive confidential complaints of ethical lapses and to monitor the response of DIR's Division of Workers Compensation (DWC).
"The California public and the labor community in particular has the right to expect the highest ethical standards from those who oversee the highly sensitive area of workers compensation," said Mr. Aubry. "These new regulations and the newly created Advisory Committee will go a long way in ensuring that trust continues."
"With the advent of these new policies and procedures, ethical standards for California's workers compensation referees will be among the highest in the nation," said Casey Young administrative director of the Division of Workers Compensation.
The new rules apply to all workers' compensation referees, and to other DWC employees, including the administrative director, to the extent they exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions.
In addition to the rules set forth in the Code of Judicial Conduct, workers' compensation referees will:
In addition, the administrative director will issue and make available advisory opinions on ethical issues of concern upon request of a referee or other person or upon his own initiative. This will allow the administrative director to particularize the ethical rules on a case-by-case basis. Over time, a detailed set of rules will be developed, tailored to ethical issues particular to the workers' compensation system.
The Workers' Compensation Ethics Advisory Committee will be comprised of nine members as follows:
The committee will receive complaints, send complaints to the administrative director with a recommendation to investigate where warranted, monitor the outcome of investigations, and make public reports on the integrity of the adjudicatory process.
The administrative director will be making the appointments to this committee in the near future and invites nominations from all segments of the interested public.