Singleton v. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 26 PAWCLR 128 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2011).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeals Board reversed the workers' compensation judge's grant of the worker's petition.
What it means: In Pennsylvania, a worker's absence that is unrelated to his work-related injury is not compensable.
Summary: The board ruled that the WCJ erred in finding that the worker's absence was compensable. The employer filed a notification of suspension indicating that the worker's benefits were suspended because he returned to work at earnings greater than or equal to his time-of-injury earnings. The worker filed an employee challenge petition. The WCJ granted the petition, finding that the worker showed he did not return to work and remain there without a wage loss. The board reversed. After sustaining injuries from being struck by a tree in the course and scope of his employment, the worker returned to work at his preinjury wage. Several days later, he received a positive drug test that was unrelated to his work injury. He was suspended for three days and was not allowed to return to work until he completed a drug rehabilitation program. Since workers' compensation benefits are payable only for absences related to a work injury, the board determined that the worker's absence was not compensable.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 22, 2011
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