Court Finds Worker Fired for Misconduct Can Get Disability Payments

August 20, 2010 ( – An Ohio appellate court has ruled that a worker fired for misconduct can continue to receive temporary total disability payments granted after a work injury.

Ohio’s 10th Appellate District Appeals Court determined that all evidence indicates the Lafonda Carson’s infractions occurred prior to his injury and that the hospital he worked for presented no evidence that he violated work rules during the time he returned to work under light duty restrictions following his injury.  

The court rejected Ohio State University Research Hospital’s contention that Carson’s rule infractions are a voluntary abandonment of employment that precludes an award of temporary total disability compensation. The appellate court agreed with a district hearing officer’s ruling that the hospital failed to provide any documentation regarding the specifics of Carson’s conduct that eventually resulted in his termination, so there was not sufficient evidence upon which to find that he voluntarily abandoned his employment, and because Carson had not returned to his former position of employment following his injury, he could not abandon his former position of employment.  

According to the opinion, Carson had been under investigation for some time prior to his injury concerning allegations that he was violating the hospital’s Sexual Harassment Policy. Following his injury, while he was on transitional work duty, Carson received notice that he was being terminated “based on your demonstration of conduct unbecoming a medical center employee and violation of university policy.”  

The opinion is here.