Last year at this time, the NFL and NFLPA weren’t able to agree on many things. Eventually, they agreed on enough things to end the lockout.
But they didn’t agree on everything, including a lingering issue regarding the question of whether players can file workers’ compensation claims in the employee-friendly California workers’ compensation system based simply on having played at least one game there during their careers.
Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that, earlier this month, the employee-friendly California workers’ compensation system delivered an employee-unfriendly ruling to NFL players. On May 1, the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board ruled that contractual provisions requiring workers’ compensation claims to be filed in a specific state other than California will be respected.
Thus, if player contracts specify, for example, that a Bengals player must pursue workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio, the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board will be inclined to honor that.
The ruling could help resolve litigation pending throughout the country regarding the question of whether the claims can be pursued in California. However, the ruling likely is subject to further appeals in California, which means that the current position is subject to change.