Vocational Return to Work Matters: Modified Employment

Poindexter v. Montana State Fund [11/19/10] 2010 MTWCC 31Based on the testimony of witnesses that the employer typically made modified work available to injured workers, and the employer’s testimony regarding proposed job duties for the modified position which would have fit within Petitioner’s work restrictions, the Court found that a modified position existed which Petitioner was able and qualified to perform at an equivalent wage to his time-of-injury position.
Brown v. Hartford Ins. Co. [12/16/09] 2009 MTWCC 38 After the claimant’s employer ceased to make a modified position available to her as of February 13, 2009, the insurer is liable for paying occupational disease benefits retroactive to that date, less the statutory waiting period.

Bagley v. Montana State Fund [08/18/09] 2009 MTWCC 29 A Petitioner who was released to return to work in a modified, sedentary job position and was terminated from his employment for disciplinary reasons is ineligible for TTD benefits where the evidence demonstrates that his employer has a modified, sedentary job position that would be available to him had he not been fired.

Fabbi v. Valley Forge Ins. Co. [04/16/08] 2008 MTWCC 16 Where the Court determined that Petitioner voluntarily terminated her position at her time-of-injury employer, Petitioner is not entitled to indemnity benefits for the time periods at issue, notwithstanding the fact that the employer advised Petitioner by letter that it was able to accommodate the modifications set forth in her doctor’s release and offered Petitioner an opportunity to return to work in a modified position.

Vallance v. MCCF, 2006 MTWCC 15 [04/11/06] Where Petitioner voluntarily resigned his position with his time-of-injury employer after he was disciplined for refusing to perform tasks as part of a return-to-work program which fell within those activities allowed within his doctor's restrictions, he is ineligible for TPD or TTD benefits so long as he is released to perform the duties available to him in the return-to-work program.
Ranes v. Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Co. [7/5/96] 1996 MTWCC 49 Where a claimant quits a modified job she was performing prior to reaching MMI because she is unable to do the work due to her injury, she requalifies for temporary total disability benefits under section 39-71-701(4), MCA (1993) because the modified job is no longer available to her.
Ingebretson v. Louisiana-Pacific Corp. [12/14/94] 1994 MTWCC 113 Although self-insured employer brought claimant back to work prior to MMI by offering him work within his restrictions (see section 39-71-701(4), MCA (1993)), it assigned him work that caused him pain, and refused to heed his requests for reassignment. When claimant fell asleep at work the next day, it was because his employer-caused pain had caused a sleepless night. Employer’s purported termination for sleeping at work was a pretext for the employer to rid itself of a disabled employee, making the alternative job “no longer available” to claimant and entitling him to reinstatement of temporary total disability benefits. Claimant was entitled to temporary total disability benefits, attorneys fees, and penalty. Affirmed in Ingebretson v. Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, 272 Mont. 294 (1995) (No. 94-622).