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Recent Blog Posts

  • Voluntary abandonment doctrine strengthened by Ohio Supreme Court By Rebecca Kopp Levine    On Sept. 27, 2018,the Ohio Supreme Court took the unusual step of overturning two prior decisions in an attempt to clarify a confusing aspect of workers’ compensation law. A long-standing tenet of workers’ compensation law, temporary total disability compensation, is intended to compensate an injured worker when they are unable to work due to a work-related injury. To be entitled to temporary total disability compensation, an injured worker must be medically unable to work and the inability... More
  • Sixth Circuit holds that employer was not required to extend lunch breaks for exercise as reasonable accommodation By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Many people exercise daily, and for Shannan McDonald, her exercise was prescribed by her physician for her genetic disorder.  McDonald, employed as a receptionist for UAW-GM Center for Human Resources (CHR), regularly exercised in her employer’s on-site gym during her lunch break.  Per the collective bargaining agreement that covered her employment, each year CHR permitted employees to elect annually whether to take a 60 minute lunch break or a 30 minute lunch break with two other 15... More
  • Ohio court whittles away at employers’ defense of voluntary abandonment of employment in workers’ compensation cases By Rebecca Kopp Levine    In Ohio, it has been a long-standing principle that an employee injured at work could lose eligibility for temporary total disability compensation in a workers’ compensation claim when the employee is terminated by the employer for violation of a written work rule. The written work rule must define clearly the prohibited conduct, identify the conduct as a dischargeable offense, and was known or should have been known by the employee. However, a recent court decision by the Franklin... More
  • Workers’ compensation law aiming to reduce appeal time is constitutional By Rebecca Kopp Levine    The Ohio Supreme Court has definitively decided that an employee cannot unilaterally dismiss an employer-initiated appeal in a workers’ compensation case; rather, the employer must consent to the dismissal. After a workers’ compensation claim proceeds administratively before the Industrial Commission, any party may appeal the Commission’s decision to permit the employee to participate in the workers’ compensation system to the Court of Common Pleas. After an appeal is filed, the employee must file a petition/complaint within 30 days. Regardless... More
  • Workers’ compensation law changes By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Recently, Gov. Kasich signed into law the workers’ compensation budget. In addition to funding the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), the bill enacted a number of substantive changes to the law. These changes are effective Sept. 29, 2017. Below are some of the significant amendments impacting Ohio employers: Decreases statute of limitations: For claims with dates of injuries on or after Sept. 29, 2017, injured workers must file a claim application within one year of the date of... More
  • Some clarity: The Supreme Court of Ohio definitively decides procedure for abatement of substantial aggravation conditions By Rebecca Kopp Levine    In its recent decision, Clendenin v. Girl Scouts of W. Ohio, the Supreme Court of Ohio definitively decided that an Industrial Commission order determining that a pre-existing condition that was substantially aggravated by a work-related incident has returned to the pre-injury level is an issue that may not be appealed to a court of common pleas. While working for the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Audrey Clendenin (Clendenin) was injured on Oct. 21, 2008. Her claim was recognized... More
  • Sunday deliveries of FMLA paperwork: A recipe for disaster By Rebecca Kopp Levine    A recent case highlights the intersection of FMLA and workers’ compensation laws. Angela Samuel (Samuel) was employed by Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. (Progressive) as a retention specialist and primarily worked out of her home. While on a leave of absence covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Progressive notified Samuel that she needed to submit documentation in support of her FMLA request. Previously, Samuel’s documents in support of her FMLA leave were either never received or... More
  • Employers must take their employees as they are – pre-existing conditions included By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Ohio law has long held that an employee’s particular health conditions, personal frailties and peculiar susceptibilities do not prohibit the employee from having a compensable work injury when the injury occurred in the course of and arising out of the employee’s employment. Ohio courts do not deny an employee a compensable claim merely because the employee’s physical fitness at the time of the work incident rendered him more susceptible to the injury than an otherwise healthy individual. Recently,... More
  • Transgender status may not be a protected class, but lawsuits involving transgender employees are permitted to proceed By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Caitlyn Jenner has dominated the national public interest stories and social media of late. However sensational the news has made this particular story, the issues surrounding transgender individuals are increasingly impacting employers. Recently, the Eastern District of Michigan permitted one of the first sex-discrimination cases over a transgender employee’s firing to proceed. The Court refused to dismiss the case despite the fact that transgender persons are not a protected class under Title VII, finding instead that transgender employees are like... More
  • Proposed Ohio Senate bill would permit workers’ compensation benefits for emergency personnel With PTSD By Rebecca Kopp Levine    Ohio Senators have introduced a bill to change Ohio workers’ compensation laws to permit claimants who are peace officers, firefighters or emergency medical personnel diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Presently, Ohio law only recognizes claims for psychological conditions if the psychological condition arises out of an injury or occupational disease or is the result of sexual assault. As we have previously reported on this blog, the Ohio Supreme Court, in the Armstrong... More