Monday, May 17, 2004

Penalties Are Awarded When Employer/Insurer Takes Unilateral Suspension Upon Accrual of Credit

In T. Palmer v. WCAB (City of Philadelphia) The Employer took a unilateral suspension because the Claimant became entitled to a pension that offset her workers' compensation benefits. Even though the Claimant was due no workers' compensation benefits after the offset was applied, the WCJ's award of a penalty on the amount of workers' compensation due before the offset was affirmed by the Commonwealth Court.

This could apply in the case of return to work unilateral suspensions as well. The Court stated the rule that no penalty can be awarded when no compensation is awarded does not apply when compensation is payable, but offset, because the purpose of the statutory provision is to penalize conduct of the Employer/Insurer that is unlawful, in this case the unilateral suspension.

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