A Penalty Under LC5814 Is Possible For Unreasonable Delay of SJDB Vouchers But Only On the Amount Actually Delayed

The WCAB has issued several cases recently in which they essentially state that LC § 5814 does apply to the unreasonable delay/denial of supplemental job displacement benefits, but the penalty of up to 25% is only on the amount actually used by the applicant, not the entire amount.  In Fuentes v. The Cheesecake Factory (2016) Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 286, the Court held that the WCJ had jurisdiction to award a penalty for defendant’s delay in providing the voucher, finding that LC § 5300 conferred court jurisdiction over the recovery of compensation, and that the voucher is compensation. In Sandoval v. La Quinta Inn & Suites (2016) Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 384, the WCAB rescinded the WCJ’s award of 25 percent penalty under Labor Code § 5814 on total value of the voucher for defendant’s failure to timely provide the voucher, and held that defendant was liable for a penalty only on the amount of the voucher actually used by applicant.  This was further found in Garcia v. Sara Lee Corporation 2016 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS (Board Panel Decision) in which it was held that the penalty of the unreasonably delayed voucher can only be calculated once the voucher payment is utilized.