The Court of Appeals recently issued a decision interpreting the case of Padgett v. Waffle House. Padgett is a case that Cliff Perkins appealed to the Supreme Court and won. The Supreme Court agreed with Cliff’s argument that an employer should have to pay temporary total disability benefits to an injured worker when the employer fired the injured worker because of her injury. In Padgett, the Ms. Padgett was fired by her employer for sitting down. Since her injury required her to sit down and take breaks, her employer fired her because of her injury.
What are the facts of the recent Court of Appeals case?
The recent case interpreting Padgett is Burns v. State of Georgia Dept. of Administrative Services. Ms. Burns worked as a receptionist. She was injured when the chair she was sitting in collapsed. Some time after her injury, she was fired by her employer.
Ms. Burns requested a hearing and argued that her employer fired her because of her injury. She successfully proved this to the judge and was awarded benefits based on the law in Padgett. Nevertheless, her employer appealed the decision and tried to argue that the law established in Padgett should not apply because Ms. Burns was back doing her regular job.
What ruling did the Court of Appeals make?
Fortunately, the Court of Appeals did not buy this argument. The Court of Appeals concluded that the rule from Padgett applied even when an injured worker is doing his or her regular job after an injury. If the employer terminates the injured worker’s employment because of the injury, then the employer must start paying temporary total disability benefits.