Allying with an Employer on Worker’s Compensation Case

 The employee sustained a work-related back injury and returned to work five days later with restrictions.   The employer accommodated his restrictions, assigned him to light duty work, and paid his full salary.  Roughly two months later, the employee violated company policy.   He also acknowledged prior infractions of company policy. The employee was suspended, reinstated, and, after review by corporate human resources personnel, terminated.  The employee then filed a claim for temporary total disability compensation from the date of his termination and continuing.  The single commissioner, affirmed by the Full Commission, denied benefits on the basis that the employee was terminated for violating company policy and, therefore, he could not prove that his inability to earn income was due to his injury.  Affirming the Commission’s denial of benefits, the South Carolina Supreme Court rejected the contention that the law mandates payment of temporary benefits, regardless of the factual circumstances of a given case, whenever an employee is discharged from an accommodated, light duty position. 

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