An injured worker refused a light duty job offer because it interfered with caring for her disabled granddaughter. Did the worker receive workers’ comp benefits?
Bridget Moss suffered a knee sprain at work.
Two weeks later, Moss was released to return to work with restrictions.
Ryan Alternative Staffing offered Moss a light duty job within her medical restrictions.
Moss refused the job, explaining she couldn’t work the hours required because she needed to be able to care for her disabled granddaughter.
Moss instead applied for temporary total disability (TTD) under workers’ comp.
The Industrial Commission of Ohio ruled that the light duty job offer was made in good faith, but Moss also rejected the offer in good faith. Therefore, the commission awarded her TTD.
The company appealed.
The Court of Appeals said an Ohio Supreme Court case, Ellis, provided the guidance that should be followed in Moss’s situation.
In Ellis, the employee wasn’t able to return to her former position because of a work-related injury.
Her employer offered a light-duty position consistent with her medical restrictions, but the worker refused the offer because the job required her to work evenings. Her two children would be home alone on the nights her husband worked.
In Ellis, the supreme court ruled that the commission had to determine whether the light-duty offer was made in good faith.
Back to Moss’s case: The appeals court said the commission erred by considering whether the job offer was in good faith and whether the refusal was in good faith.
Once a determination is made that the light-duty offer was medically appropriate and made in good faith, it doesn’t matter if there was a good faith reason for the employee to reject it.
Therefore, the appeals court ruled Moss couldn’t collect TTD under workers’ comp.
(Ryan Alternative Staffing Inc. v. Bridget M. Moss, Court of Appeals of Ohio Tenth District, No. 19AP-245, 11/5/20)