Case name: Dougherty v. Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC, 27 PAWCLR 110 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2012).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board reversed the workers' compensation judge's conclusion that a driver's discharge from his employment for violating the employer's weapons policy did not necessitate a suspension of benefits. The board ordered a suspension as of the date of the claimant's discharge.
What it means: In Pennsylvania, if a worker commits misconduct and is properly discharged for that misconduct, he is precluded from receiving compensation for loss of earnings from the date of his discharge.
Summary: A delivery truck driver fractured his ankle when he fell while exiting a company truck. Ten days later, he was discharged for violating the employer's weapons policy after the employer discovered his loaded handgun in the company truck. The employer sought to terminate the driver's benefits, alleging that he was fully recovered from his work injury and that his employment had ended due to willful misconduct. The WCJ denied the petition and a suspension of benefits whether based on the driver's liver disease as an intervening cause of disability or his discharge from employment. The board affirmed the denial of the termination petition. However, the board determined that the WCJ erred in awarding ongoing benefits, as the driver's misconduct led to his discharge. The driver's carrying of a loaded 38 revolver in the company truck in violation of the weapons policy constituted willful misconduct, and he failed to establish good cause for his actions.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 27, 2012
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