CNA's criminal activity 25 years ago doesn't block benefits award
Baust v. Signature Healthcare, LLC, 19 FLWCLB 79 (Fla. JCC, St. Petersburg 2012).
Ruling: A Florida judge of compensation claims rejected the employer's argument that a certified nursing assistant was no longer working due to her own past misconduct and not her disability and awarded her temporary partial disability benefits.
What it means:
In Florida, a claimant's domestic violence infraction from more than 25 years ago and before she began working for the employer does not qualify as misconduct so as to warrant the denial of TPD benefits.
A certified nursing assistant suffered compensable injuries and returned to light-duty work with the employer. She was subsequently terminated based on amendments to the Florida law requiring that certified nursing assistants pass a background screening. The employer asserted that the CNA was no longer eligible to remain employed in health care based on a background search, which revealed a domestic violence infraction 25 years earlier. She received unemployment compensation. The employer denied her request for temporary indemnity benefits, contending that her criminal record from 25 years ago constituted misconduct. The JCC disagreed and awarded benefits.
An employer can deny temporary disability benefits for a worker's misconduct that consists of activity detrimental to the employer. In this case, the CNA's criminal activity occurred before she came to work for the employer. There was also no evidence of postinjury misconduct by the CNA which led to her termination by the employer.
The JCC went on to find that because the CNA had restrictions from an authorized treating physician which prevented her from performing her ordinary work duties she qualified for TPD benefits.
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August 2, 2012
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