Pressman not required to secure interviews with prospective employers
Case name: R. R. Donnelley, et al. v. Ogletree, No. A11A1170 (Ga. Ct. App. 10/20/11).
The Georgia Court of Appeals held that a pressman was entitled to medical and temporary total disability benefits.
What it means:
In Georgia, an injured worker is not required to show that he secured interviews and visited prospective employers in person to establish that he diligently conducted a search for suitable employment.
An assistant pressman's duties included repetitive lifting, bending, stretching, and pulling. He suffered a work-related injury to his neck and upper extremities. He underwent carpal tunnel surgery. He returned to work with permanent restrictions. Although the employer gave him a light-duty job, his duties exceeded his restrictions, and his condition worsened. An MRI revealed degenerative disk disease. He was laid off as a result of the employer's reduced workload. He began searching for work but was unsuccessful. The pressman claimed that he sustained a compensable new accident and that he was unable to obtain suitable subsequent employment due to the aggravation of the injury. The Georgia Court of Appeals held that the pressman was entitled to medical and TTD benefits.
The court found that the pressman's physical activity in continuing to work seriously aggravated his condition. He sustained a "new accident" on the date he was laid off. The court pointed out that the date of a "new accident" is deemed to be when the disability manifests itself. When a worker attempts to continue working even though he is injured, the disability may manifest itself when he is forced to stop working.
The evidence showed that the pressman searched for work and applied for 24 jobs, but he was unsuccessful in securing suitable employment. The court noted that the pressman was not required to secure interviews and visit prospective employers in person. This would impose an additional burden upon him with respect to matters that were beyond his control in the hiring process. The court said the pressman made a diligent effort to secure suitable employment.
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December 15, 2011
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