The Ohio Code has always been pretty clear about the rules regarding light duty for workers comp claimants. If somebody is out on worker’s compensation, their employer may make an offer for them to work light duty. If the employee rejects that offer, the employer can file a request to have their workers comp benefits terminated. Until recently, there hadn’t been a serious challenge to this rule.
This past year, however, there was a case in Ohio (State ex rel. Ryan Alternative Staffing v Moss) that appeared to change the law when it came to offers of light duty for workers comp claimants. A woman was hurt on the job and was out of work on workers comp. At the time, she was receiving temporary total workers comp benefits.
At one point, her employer called her and made her an offer to come in and work light duty. She refused the position, stating that she had to stay home and take care of her disabled grandchild. The staffing agency that she was employed with put the offer in writing and mailed it to her via certified mail as required by law. She rejected the offer again and, that same day, put in a claim for disability.
She was denied benefits and her workers comp claim was terminated. She challenged the decision in court and won. The lower court found that she had every right to refuse the light duty because the hours they were offering her conflicted with her schedule. The employer appealed.
On appeal, the court reversed the lower court’s decision. They held that an employee’s workers comp benefits can be terminated if they refuse an offer of light duty. In Moss’ case, her rejection had absolutely nothing to do with her injury.
If you feel that you’re being pressured into accepting a light duty position, call an Ohio workers compensation attorney right away.