Lack of transportation to potential job is not 'largely irrelevant'
Gonzalez v. Starbucks Coffee Co., 24 PAWCLR 176 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2009).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeals Board vacated a workers' compensation judge's grant of the employer's modification petition and remanded for the WCJ to address the worker's lack of transportation.
What it means:
A potential position is not available if the worker lacks transportation to the job.
Summary: The worker was injured in the course of his employment and received weekly compensation benefits. The employer filed a modification petition alleging that a labor market survey revealed that work was generally available to the worker. The workers' compensation judge granted the petition, finding that a lack of transportation to the jobs was "largely irrelevant where the inquiry was whether there was work ?generally available' in the area." The board vacated the finding that the worker's lack of transportation was "largely irrelevant." The board found that the WCJ failed to explain how a job could be "generally available" if the injured worker had no transportation to the potential job.
Although the positions relied on by the employer may otherwise have been viable positions, the worker could not get to these jobs. He testified there was only one car in his household, and his wife used it during regular daylight work hours. The worker did not have other transportation available. The WCJ's decision was vacated and remanded.
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December 7, 2009
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