Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

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Appellant failed to disclose his sealed criminal conviction on an application for employment and on applications to renew his registration as an adult-services worker with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Consequently, Appellant’s employment was terminated by the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The court of appeals affirmed Appellant’s termination. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the questions on the registration applications that explicitly required disclosure of sealed convictions did not violate Ohio Rev. Code 2953.33(B) because the questions bore a direct and substantial relationship to Appellant’s position and to his qualifications for registration; and (2) Appellant was not excused from answering those questions. View "Gyugo v. Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals granting a limited writ of mandamus and ordering the Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System Board and Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System (collectively, the Board) to conduct a “physical-capacity evaluation” of Appellee. The Board originally approved Appellee’s disability retirement application but later terminated Appellee’s disability-retirement benefits based on evidence that Appellee was fully recovered and no longer disabled. Appellee appealed, submitting new evidence and a recommendation that Appellee receive a physical-capacity evaluation. The Board upheld its prior decision to terminate disability-retirement benefits without referring Appellee for a physical-capacity evaluation. The court of appeals granted a limited writ of mandamus ordering the Board to conduct the physical-capacity evaluation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Board’s decision was based upon sufficient medical evidence and that the Board had no legal duty to conduct a physical-capacity evaluation before terminating Appellee’s disability benefits. View "State ex rel. Burroughs v. Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System Board" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals that granted a limited writ of mandamus ordering the Industrial Commission to amend its order awarding permanent-total-disability compensation to adjust the start date of the benefits awarded to Terry Phillips. Phillips suffered a workplace injury in 2011. In 2013, Phillips applied for permanent-total-disability compensation. After a hearing, a staff hearing officer concluded that Phillips was permanently and totally disabled based on the reports of Dr. Amol Soin, Dr. Steven Rosen, and Dr. Norman Berg. R&L Carriers Shared Services, LLC filed a complaint in mandamus arguing that the Commission’s order was not supported by the evidence. The magistrate recommended that the court of appeals issue a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to amend its order to eliminate from consideration the reports of Dr. Soin and Dr. Rosen and to adjust the start date of the award to coincide with the date of Dr. Berg’s report. The court of appeals adopted the magistrate’s decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that R&L failed to demonstrate that the Commission abused its discretion by entering an order not supported by some evidence in the record. View "State ex rel. R&L Carriers Shared Services, LLC v. Industrial Commission of Ohio" on Justia Law

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An Industrial Commission order determining that a preexisting condition that was substantially aggravated by a workplace injury has returned to a level that would have existed absent the jury is not appealable to a court of common pleas under Ohio Rev. Code 4123.512(A). Appellee suffered a workplace injury. Appellee’s claim for workers’ compensation was allowed for multiple conditions. The Bureau of Worker’s Compensation later moved to abate Appellee’s claim for substantial aggravated of preexisting dermatomyositis, asserting that Appellee’s dermatomyositis had returned to a level that would have existed without her workplace injury. A hearing officer granted the Bureau’s motion and ordered that compensation and medical benefits were no longer to be paid for the allowed condition. Appellee appealed. The trial court dismissed Appellee’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction, concluding that medical abatement of one condition of a claim is an extent-of-disability issue that cannot be appealed to a common pleas court under section 4123.512(A). The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the order was appealable to the court of common pleas. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that such a decision is not appealable under section 4123.512. Instead, a challenge to the Commission’s final decision regarding the extent of disability is properly made by an action in mandamus. View "Clendenin v. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio" on Justia Law

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Any limitation on an arbitrator’s authority to modify a disciplinary action pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) provision requiring that discipline be imposed only for just cause must be specifically bargained for by the parties and incorporated into the CBA. The common pleas court in this case vacated an arbitration award that changed the disciplinary sanction recommended by the chief of police against Sergeant David Hill of the Findlay Police Department from termination to a length suspension. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the arbitration award did not draw its essence from the CBA between the city of Findlay and the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and was arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because the CBA placed no limitation on the arbitrator’s authority to review the disciplinary action imposed and fashion a remedy, the arbitrator acted within his authority; and (2) the arbitrator’s award drew its essence from the CBA and was not arbitrary, capricious, or unlawful. View "Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Ass’n v. City of Findlay" on Justia Law

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The court of appeals properly concluded that the evidence supported the decision of the Industrial Commission that Appellant was not eligible for benefits because he had voluntarily abandoned the workforce for reasons unrelated to his workplace injury. Appellant, who was injured in the course and scope of his employment, filed a complaint in the court of appeals asking the court to issue a writ of mandamus compelling the Commission to find that he was eligible for permanent total disability benefits. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission’s order was supported by evidence in the record, and the court of appeals did not err in determining that the Commission did not abuse its discretion and that mandamus was inappropriate. View "State ex rel. McKee v. Union Metal Corp." on Justia Law

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In 1992, Appellant was injured in an accident while in the course and scope of his employment. In 2014, Appellant applied for permanent total disability benefits. A hearing officer found that Appellant was not permanently and totally disabled. Appellant filed a complaint in mandamus alleging that the Industrial Commission abused its discretion by entering an order that was not supported by the evidence. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion in relying on an expert’s report to find that Appellant was capable of up to four hours of sedentary work a day, and therefore, the court of appeals properly denied Appellant’s request for a writ of mandamus. View "State ex rel. Bonnlander v. Harmon" on Justia Law

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Norman James was injured while employed by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. James later quit his job at Wal-Mart. James briefly got a job with Casper Transport Inc. and Casper Service Automotive (Casper). On June 1, 2007, James was involved in an auto accident unrelated to his employment. Casper fired James on November 16, 2007 for excessive absenteeism, and James had not worked since that time. James filed a motion requesting temporary-total-disability benefits beginning November 17, 2007. The Industrial Commission denied benefits for the period from November 17, 2007 through September 29, 2009, the date of the Commission hearing. James then filed an original action in mandamus. The court of appeals granted a limited writ vacating the denial of temporary-total-disability benefits and returned the case to the Commission to further address the end of James’ employment at Casper. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals to the extent that the court issued a limited writ of mandamus and affirmed the remainder of the appellate court’s judgment, holding that the evidence supported the Commission’s decision to deny temporary-total-disability compensation. View "State ex rel. James v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." on Justia Law

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Employee was terminated from his employment after failing a routine drug test administered soon after a workplace accident in which he was injured. Employee’s drug use did not cause the accident. Employee’s workers’ compensation claim was initially allowed for temporary total disability (TTD) compensation. However, the Industrial Commission subsequently determined that Employee voluntarily abandoned his employment by using marijuana prior to the accident and was therefore not eligible for TTD compensation. Employee petitioned for a writ of a mandamus compelling the Commission to vacate its order denying TTD compensation and to issue an order granting Employee TTD compensation. The court of appeals granted the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that when an employee is terminated after a workplace injury for conduct prior to and unrelated to the injury, the employee’s termination does not amount to a voluntary abandonment of employment for purposes of TTD compensation when (1) the discovery of the dischargeable offense occurred because of the injury; and (2) the employee was medically incapable of returning to work as a result of the workplace injury at the time of the termination. View "State ex rel. Cordell v. Pallet Companies" on Justia Law

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Eleven captains and one battalion chief in the Cleveland Fire Department (collectively, Relators) alleged that each of them was eligible for promotion in the fire department but was deprived of the opportunity to take a competitive promotional examination. Relators filed this action in mandamus against the City of Cleveland and its mayor (collectively, Respondents) seeking immediate cessation of the noncompetitive examination process that the City was using for promotion within the fire department. The firefighters’ union challenged the noncompetitive examination process on the same grounds in a declaratory injunction action in the court of common pleas. The Supreme Court dismissed Relators’ action, holding that Relators had an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law by way of intervening in the declaratory judgment case, precluding a writ of mandamus here. View "State ex rel. Schroeder v. Cleveland" on Justia Law