Three Rallies Planned April 28th Expected to Empower Latino Injured Workers Against Employers Trying to Strip Away California Workers' Compensation Benefits

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Knowledge of the work comp system hailed as key to empowerment in immigration debate.

Latino crowds are expected to be heavy at three different rallies planned for April 28th to recognize California’s Workers’ Memorial Day, commemorating the creation of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Rallies will be held in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.

Speakers at the Sacramento rally, scheduled for 11:00 am at the South steps of the State Capitol, include nurse Barbara Clark, a plaintiff in a multi-million dollar federal lawsuit, and Eric Drew, the first victim of identity theft to successfully have a perpetrator convicted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), amongst others.

“There are forces in the state that want to strip away workers compensation benefits for undocumented workers,” said Clark about the anticipated showing of Latino workers. “Stripping away health benefits for injured workers hurt by unsafe employers is becoming the flash-point for outraged Latinos fed up with mal-treatment,” Clark said.

According to Clark, it was a Los Angeles based attorney, Dennis J. Hershewe, that argued to revoke workers’ compensation privileges for undocumented workers. (See Farmers Brothers Coffee v. Workers Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB), No. B180839, Second Appellate Court of California). “He is no friend of the undocumented injured worker community, if you ask me,” cited Clark.

“In the Farmers Brothers vs. WCAB case, Hershewe argued that the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) preempts the California Labor Code. Thankfully, Mr. Hershewe lost his case; otherwise, thousands of undocumented workers may not have workers compensation benefits in California,” Clark said.

Clark and Hershewe are no strangers to a legal fight. Clark is suing Hershewe in Sacramento federal court (Case No. 2:05-CV-2410 FCD KJM PS) for criminal violations of the HIPAA medical privacy law. According to court documents, Hershewe is accused of maliciously distributing medical records illegally to nearly twenty people in an attempt to win a workers’ compensation case against her. “I am seeking an indictment against Hershewe for his alleged criminal violations of HIPAA (42 USC 1380d-6),” cited Clark.

Interestingly, Hershewe was cited for “vile, conniving and despicable” conduct by the quasi-judicial WCAB (See Roxana Clabough vs. Fremont Compensation Insurance Co., WCAB, MON 0206327, 5/18/2001).

For more information visit: http://www.ciaw.org , http://www.barbclark.org , http://www.ericdrew.com , http://www.workersmemorialday.com/sacramento2006.html

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Sam Gold
CIAW
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