Fired or Abandoned?

Barkan Meizlish , May 13, 2015

On June 3, 2009 an employee injured himself while working as a mechanic. He was later diagnosed with a sacroiliac joint sprain/strain. He was released to work six days later with the ability to work in a light duty capacity.

Upon returning, the employer confirmed that the employee could return to light-duty work and asked that the employee return a Jeep that the employee had borrowed from the employer. This upset the employee, and a disagreement followed, prompting the police to be called. The employee cooperated with police and left the premises, ending his employment.

Upon filing for Workers’ Compensation, the employer objected to the claim, but the claim for a left sacroiliac sprain/strain was allowed. However, the employee’s request for temporary total disability compensation (TTD) was denied on the basis that the employee voluntarily abandoned his job. The Court held that the employee was barred from receiving TTD, as he voluntarily quit his job for reasons unrelated to his industrial injury.

“This disagreement happened to occur shortly after (the employee) reported to work with a note from his doctor restricting him to modified duty.” Moreover, “His departure was not causally related to the industrial injury. … Temporary-total-disability compensation is intended to compensate an injured worker who is temporarily unable to return to the duties of his or her former position of employment as a result of a workplace injury.” Thus, it is important that when an employee leaves their job, it must be due to the industrial accident, if they wish to recover TTD benefits.


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