5814. (a) When payment of compensation has been unreasonably
delayed or refused, either prior to or subsequent to the issuance of
an award, the amount of the payment unreasonably delayed or refused
shall be increased up to 25 percent or up to ten thousand dollars
($10,000), whichever is less. In any proceeding under this section,
the appeals board shall use its discretion to accomplish a fair
balance and substantial justice between the parties.
(b) If a potential violation of this section is discovered by the
employer prior to an employee claiming a penalty under this section,
the employer, within 90 days of the date of the discovery, may pay a
self-imposed penalty in the amount of 10 percent of the amount of the
payment unreasonably delayed or refused, along with the amount of
the payment delayed or refused. This self-imposed penalty shall be in
lieu of the penalty in subdivision (a).