Monday, August 29, 2011

Claimant Who Returns to Light Duty and is Dismissed for Concealing Employment During Disability is Not Entitled to Reinstatement.

In Sauer v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Verizon Pennsylvania, inc.) the Claimant returned to light duty on August 16 and a notification of suspension was issued. On August 17, the Claimant and his union representative were shown surveillance of the Claimant doing various work during his period of disability. The Claimant had reported no earnings from other employment via LIBC-756. The Claimant was discharged.

The Claimant did not challenge the notification of suspension or grieve the firing. In October he filed a reinstatement petition and in December he filed a review petition to add additional physical and psychological injuries. The WCJ dismissed the review petiton based on the credibility of the doctors who testified and dismissed the reinstatement petiton based on the Claimant's dismissal for cause.

The Claimant argued he had only returned to light duty when he was seperated from employment, and the work depicted in the surveillance did not demonstrate that the Claimant could perform full duty. The court held, however, that the evidence met the standard of proof to conclude the Claimant was discharged for cause and the Claimant's loss of earnings was unrelated to the work injury. The decision of the WCJ was affirmed.

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