Supervisor's termination for cause sinks claim for TTD benefits
Case name: Pollack v. Southern Wine & Spirits of America, No. 27285 (S.C. 07/17/13).
The South Carolina Supreme Court held that a supervisor was not entitled to temporary total disability benefits for his back injury.
What it means: In South Carolina, an injured worker is entitled to TTD benefits when his incapacity to earn wages is due to or because of the work-related injury.
A driver's supervisor suffered a work-related back injury while lifting a case of alcohol. He returned to work five days later, and the employer accommodated his restrictions by providing light duty. Two months later, he responded to an accident involving a company vehicle driven by an employee. The employer's policy stated that all accidents and incidents with a company vehicle had to be reported. The supervisor completed his investigation of the accident. As he was leaving the scene in a company vehicle, the supervisor hit the side of the employee's vehicle. He did not see damage and did not report the collision to the employer. Later, the employer terminated him for failing to report the accident. The supervisor sought temporary total disability benefits for his back injury. The South Carolina Supreme Court held that he was not entitled to TTD benefits.
The court said it appeared that the supervisor sought to mandate the payment of TTD benefits whenever a worker was discharged from an accommodated, light-duty position. The court rejected the interpretation.
The court explained that the supervisor's inability to earn wages was due to his termination for cause not his work-related injury. He never received TTD benefits and was accommodated by the employer. He admitted that he violated the employer's policy by failing to report the accident involving the employer's vehicle.
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October 7, 2013
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