Cleaner's termination after violation of work rule precludes TTD benefits
State of Ohio ex rel. Haywood v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, No. 11AP-1154 (Ohio Ct. App. 06/25/13).
Ruling: The Ohio Court of Appeals held that a cleaner was not entitled to temporary total disability benefits because she voluntarily left her employment.
What it means: In Ohio, a voluntary departure from employment precludes receipt of temporary total disability benefits.
Summary: A cleaner injured her lower back while working. She received temporary total disability benefits. The employer had a rule prohibiting a worker from using a cellphone while on duty or taking a cellphone into the work area. The cleaner brought her cellphone into her work area and answered an emergency phone call from her daughter. Subsequently, she was terminated for violating the work rule. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that she was not entitled to TTD benefits because she voluntarily left her employment.
The court said that the cleaner violated the employer's work rule. Despite three previous violations of the rule and a suspension, she continued to take her cellphone into her work area. The cleaner was aware of the consequences of violating the rule and was advised of a potential for discharge from her employment.
The cleaner argued that the emergency circumstances of the phone call should excuse the violation of the work rule. The court agreed with the magistrate's finding that the cleaner was in violation of the rule before she received the call from her daughter. The exigent circumstances did not compel her to take her cellphone into the work area at the start of her shift. The magistrate also concluded that the employer's policy did not unreasonably restrict family contact during an emergency.
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September 16, 2013
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