2 ways to make sure your light-duty job offer passes muster at the Industrial Commission

One of the bases for terminating ongoing temporary total disability compensation set out in R.C. §4123.56 is: “when work within the physical capabilities of the employee is made available by the employer or another employer.” However, the Ohio Supreme Court, 10th Appellate District and the Industrial Commission are very strict about how this job offer must be presented.  This post provides an overview of what to include in your job offer to make sure it passes muster at hearing.

The seminal case regarding this issue is State ex rel. Coxson v. Dairy Mart Stores of Ohio, Inc., 90 Ohio St.3d, 2000-Ohio-188.   In the Coxson case, the court insisted that, in order to terminate TTD, the job offer must identify the proposed position and provide a description of the job duties sufficient to enable the injured worker, the treating physician and the Industrial Commission to determine whether the job duties are consistent with the worker’s limitations.

Some examples of job offers that were too vague to terminate TTD include an offer of “left handed employment”, without further discussion of the actual position or the job duties, State ex rel. Pabon v. Industrial Comm. of Ohio, 2007-Ohio-5964; an offer of an unspecified “transitional work position” which “meets the restrictions outlined by your medical provider”, State ex rel. Scott v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, 2008-Ohio-4104; and an offer based upon the opinion of an IME physician, where the IME physician did not consider all of the allowed conditions in the claim, State ex rel. Ganu v. Willow Brook Christian Communities, 108 Ohio St.3d 296, 2006-Ohio-907.

I advise my clients to be as specific as possible when setting out the required job duties and to indicate that the employer is willing to work with the injured worker to ensure the job duties fit within the limitations set out by the treating physician.

As the examples above demonstrate, a light duty job offer can be based upon IME findings, but an offer based upon restrictions from the treating physician is preferable. Also note that the light duty job does not necessarily need to be with the employer of record in the claim.  Offsite modified duty might be an option as well.

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