The Business Council strongly opposes S.8034 (Alcantara) / A.11028 (Jean-Pierre), whose effect undermines the entire workers’ compensation system in a blatant attempt to shift the financial burdens of a national opioid/heroin crisis onto employers. This bill creates a presumption that the death of an injured worker of an opioid overdose is compensable if that injured worker was simply prescribed opioids to treat a workplace injury without any need to show any nexus to cause, fault or negligence of an employer.
The logic behind this proposal is severely flawed. This bill would saddle employers with the financial responsibility for the death of an individual from an opioid overdose when that employee was ever prescribed an opioid under the workers’ compensation system. Not only does the bill fail to require a causal relationship between the two events, it ignores the intervening actions of an employee as well as the steps and measures taken in the medical treatment guidelines to limit access to opioids in the system. The nexus between the employer and the overdose is so thin that the precedent set would have very broad implications throughout the system.
This legislation would severely disrupt any attempt to control the costs of New York's comp system by shifting the cost of a public health and law enforcement crisis onto an employer-funded system meant to help workers injured at work, thus resulting in any even more uncompetitive state workers' compensation system.
For these reasons The Business Council strongly opposes the enactment of S.8034 (Alcantara) / A.11028 (Jean-Pierre).