Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

Indiana: Worker Fired For Misconduct May Still Recover Temporary Disability Benefits

March 31, 2017 (1 min read)

A worker who sustained an admitted back injury and who was later fired for misconduct may nevertheless be entitled to temporary disability benefits if he or she can show an inability to work because of the work injury, held an Indiana appellate court. The court stressed that generally speaking, it was irrelevant whether the injured employee had quit or was fired, so long as the inability to work was caused by the work-related injury. Here the worker saw a physician who allowed the worker to return to work without medical restrictions. The worker argued with his supervisor over the level of his back pain—the worker said he told the supervisor that his back hurt too much to continue—and the incident escalated into an actual altercation. The injured worker, who earlier had been “coached” for anger issues, three an ice pack, nearly struck a coworker, and cursed the supervisor. These actions prompted the firing. The court noted that pursuant to Indiana Code § 22–3–3–7(c)(5), TTD benefits “may not be terminated by the employer unless the employee is unable or unavailable to work for reasons unrelated to the compensable injury.” The Board found that the worker’s inability to work was related to his injury. That decision rested on a determination of his credibility and weighing of the evidence. The appellate court would not substitute its judgment for that of the Board.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Masterbrand Cabinets v. Waid, 2017 Ind. App. LEXIS 145 (Mar. 30, 2017)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 84.04.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law