Worker Who Broke Safety Rules Gets Workers' Comp

September 28, 2007 ( - The Supreme Court of Ohio said a teenager who was badly burned in 2003 while cleaning a KFC pressure cooker is entitled to workers' compensation, even though he was terminated for breaking safety rules while cleaning it, according to Business Insurance.

The 5-2 decision reversed its August 2006 decision denying David Gross workers’ compensation and upheld a ruling by the 10 th  U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstating Gross’ state benefits, the news report said. The Supreme Court previously ruled against Gross, finding his termination for misconduct constituted “voluntary abandonment” of his employment and barred him from receiving temporary total disability compensation.

Gross’ counsel asked the court to reconsider its decision, arguing that the previous ruling “wrongfully injects fault” into the workers compensation system.

Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, writing on behalf of the court, explained in her opinion summary: “If an employee’s departure from the workplace ‘is causally related to his injury,’ it is not voluntary and should not preclude the employee’s eligibility for (temporary total disability) compensation.”