(a) The administrative director shall establish and effect
within the Division of Workers' Compensation a continuing program to
provide information and assistance concerning the rights, benefits,
and obligations of the workers' compensation law to employees and
employers subject thereto. The program shall include, but not be
limited to, the following:
(1) The preparation, publishing, and as necessary, updating, of
guides to the California workers' compensation system for employees
and employers. The guides shall detail, in easily understandable
language, the rights and obligations of employees and employers, the
procedures for obtaining benefits, and the means provided for
resolving disputes. Separate guides may be prepared for employees and
employers. The appropriate guide shall be provided to all labor and
employer organizations known to the administrative director, and to
any other person upon request.
(2) The preparation, publishing, and as necessary, updating, of a
pamphlet advising injured workers of their basic rights under workers'
compensation law, and informing them of rights under the Americans
with Disabilities Act, and the provisions of the Fair Employment and
Housing Act relating to individuals with a disability. The pamphlet
shall be written in easily understandable language. The pamphlet
shall be available in both English and Spanish, and shall include
basic information concerning the circumstances under which injured
employees are entitled to the various types of workers' compensation
benefits, the protections against discrimination because of an
injury, the procedures for resolving any disputes which arise, and
the right to seek information and advice from an information and
assistance officer or an attorney.
(b) In each district office of the division, the administrative
director shall appoint an information and assistance officer, and any
other deputy information and assistance officers as the work of the
district office may require. The administrative director shall
provide office facilities and clerical support appropriate to the
functions of these information and assistance officers.
(c) Each information and assistance officer shall be responsible
for the performance of the following duties:
(1) Providing continuing information concerning rights, benefits,
and obligations under workers' compensation laws to injured workers,
employers, lien claimants, and other interested parties.
(2) Upon request by the injured worker, assisting in the prompt
resolution of misunderstanding, disputes, and controversies arising
out of claims for compensation, without formal proceedings, in order
that full and timely compensation benefits shall be furnished. In
performing this duty, information and assistance officers shall not
be responsible for reviewing applications for adjudication or
declarations of readiness to proceed. This function shall be
performed by workers' compensation judges. This function may also be
performed by settlement conference referees upon delegation by the
appeals board.
(3) Distributing any information pamphlets in English and Spanish
as are prepared and approved by the administrative director to all
inquiring injured workers and any other parties that may request
copies of these pamphlets.
(4) Establishing and maintaining liaison with the persons located
in the geographic area served by the district office, with other
affected state agencies, and with organizations representing
employees, employers, insurers, and the medical community.