Thursday, May 15, 2008
Today :Termination for Cause Case Claimant Loses
Today the Colorado Court of Appeals issued a decision against a claimant. The law involved what we usually call termination for cause. The statute says if a claimant is responsible for his termination from employment then his right to temporary benefits can be cut off. There is an exception should your condition worsen after termination but otherwise a claimant receives no wage loss or temporary benefits if he was properly terminated for cause. I dislike the law though I understand the concept behind it. The legislature did not want people who had a job and then lost it because of themselves to collect temporary benefits. I dislike it because the injured worker is still likely disabled and may not be able to find another job while he remains under treatment and with restrictions and/or medications. This law has led to numerous disputes which have gone to hearing. All sorts of reasons can justify the employer saying a claimant is responsible for termination. Witnesses usually are found who still work there who tell the judge at hearing how "bad" the claimant was or what wrong he did that led to termination. I've heard it said the claimant was insubordinate, violated rules, abandoned the job, was loud or rude or loafing or not following orders or even not calling in. If your resume is wrong or you lied on your original job application or tested positive for drugs (not drugs on the job but just even for drug residue that may be in your system from weeks ago) then the termination can be your fault. You can then lose not just workers comp temporary benefits but even unemployment benefits even if you cannot find other work. A claimant can face months without any income and that can be devastating unless you have other resources. In the case decided today the worker tested positive for cannabis after his injury and was terminated. He sought temporary benefits and was denied them and appealed. The court decision accurately states the law in this area so any injured worker should take heed not to give your employer and cause to fire you. Read it here.