Failure to apply for jobs dooms attempt to block suspension petition
Case name: Garda v. City of Pittsburgh, 28 PAWCLR 65 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2013).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board reversed the workers' compensation judge's decision denying the employer's petition to suspend benefits based on the worker's voluntary withdrawal from the workforce.
What it means: In Pennsylvania, a worker's receipt of an employer's disability pension, the receipt of Social Security retirement benefits, the issuance of a notice of ability to return to work, and the fact that the worker was not seeking employment establishes that the worker voluntarily left the workforce.
Summary: The board reversed the WCJ's decision denying the employer's petition to suspend benefits based on the worker's voluntary withdrawal from the workforce. Evidence indicated that the worker applied for and began receiving a disability pension and Social Security retirement benefits. Subsequently, the worker received a notice of ability to return to work. The worker indicated that he did not intend to leave the labor force when he took his disability pension. In reversing the denial of the suspension petition, the board pointed out that the worker did not apply for any jobs. The worker testified that he looked for work through the newspaper and speaking with family and friends.
The board explained that a worker must do more than just look for a job. A good-faith job search requires a worker to apply or send applications for employment or show that he was actively applying for employment. Looking at the totality of the circumstances, the board determined that the worker did not engage in a good-faith job search. Thus, he voluntarily removed himself from the workforce.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 5, 2013
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