Tarkowsky Law Employment Bulletin - Spring 2014
Recent Case Decisions and New Legislation
Armstrong v. John R. Jurgensen Co., 2013 Ohio 2237 (decided June 4, 2013)
The Ohio Supreme Court held that a compensable mental condition must be caused by a compensable physical injury. Within this case, an employee undisputedly suffered compensable physical injuries, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder undisputedly arose contemporaneously as a result of a work injury. However, the Supreme Court held that in order for PTSD to qualify as a compensable medical condition under R.C. 4123.01 (C)(1), an injured worker had to establish that his PTSD was causally related to his compensable physical injuries and not simply to his involvement in the accident. In Armstrong, the request to the Industrial Commission that the injured worker's w.c. claim be additionally allowed for PTSD was denied by the Supreme Court.
State ex rel. Hoffman v. Rexam Bev. Can Co., 2013 Ohio 4538 (decided October 6, 2013)
An employee suffered a work injury involving his right knee, and subsequently returned to work. After several years of employment, the employee was placed on temporary total disability (TTD) due to ongoing right knee complaints, until he voluntarily retired from his position of employment due to his age and years of service. Following his retirement, the employee underwent another knee surgery in connection to his original workers' compensation claim, and filed for TTD following surgery. In its decision, the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the Industrial Commission's denial of TTD since the employee voluntarily abandoned his position of employment due to reasons unrelated to his injury. Voluntary retirement precludes future receipt of weekly TTD benefits.
Sutton v. Tomco Machining, Inc., 2011 Ohio 2723 (decided June 9, 2011)
An employee suffered a work injury, and was immediately discharged from his position of employment upon reporting the injury. The Supreme Court determined that the plaintiff could not sustain a wrongful discharge claim under R.C. 4123.90 as the employee had yet to file, institute, or pursue a workers' compensation claim at the time of termination. However, the Court held that it would, nevertheless, recognize a common-law tort claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy when an injured employee suffers retaliatory employment action after injury on the job but before the employee files a workers' compensation claim or institutes or pursues a workers' compensation proceeding. Employers beware.
Nat'l Ass'n of Mfrs. v. NLRB, 717 F.3d947 (decided May 7, 2013)
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proposed a posting requirement forcing eligible employers to post a notice educating employees about the right to form a union and other available protections afforded by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. The United States Court of Appeals struck down the NLRB's rule in its entirety largely because it made an employer's failure to post the notice an unfair labor practice, and because it contained provisions tolling statute of limitations for an employee to file an unfair labor practice charge. The Decision did not, however, rule as to whether the NLRB had the authority to promulgate such a similar rule which did not violate the National Labor Relations Act. It is expected the NLRB may make future attempts to require such posting consistent with the law.
R.C. 4511.204: Prohibition Against Text-Based Communication while Driving
(effective March 22, 2013)
This law prohibits drivers from using handheld electronic wireless communication devices to write, send, or read a text-based communication. Violation of this section for adult drivers may result in a maximum fine of $150. Furthermore, some limited exceptions apply when using an electronic device, including, but not limited to: placing, dialing and receiving telephone calls, utilizing a device for navigational purposes, and utilizing a device while in a stationary position outside of a lane of travel. Employers should prohibit such conduct and discipline employees for violation of this law, which could prevent work injuries and claims for w.c. benefits for those who could be injured while driving in the course and scope of employment.
The law is not always clear and there may be many exceptions to established rules and regulations. Should any employment law question arise, feel free to contact John Tarkowsky at Tarkowsky & Piper Co., L.P.A., 3 North Main Street, Suite 500, Mansfield, Ohio 44902. Telephone: (419) 524-6682 or Gregory Tarkowsky in our Cleveland Office, 2786 S.O.M. Center Road, Suite 104, Willoughby Hills, OH 44094. Telephone: (440) 516-0306.