State Supreme Court Rules On Workers' Compensation Multiplier For Temporary Employees

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that an employee of a temporary agency who is injured on the job, but not returned to work by the temporary agency at a wage equal to or greater than the pre-injury wage, may obtain workers’ compensation benefits up to six times the medical impairment rating, as would a permanent employee in the same circumstances.

In Timmy Dale Britt v. Dyer’s Employment Agency, Mr. Britt was employed by Dyer’s Employment Agency and assigned to work at Mark IV in September 2008. Mr. Britt became injured on the job and sought medical care for carpel tunnel syndrome that resulted in surgery. The doctor determined Mr. Britt had a 4% permanent medical impairment. Mr. Britt’s assignment at Mark IV ended shortly after the injury and Dyer’s terminated his employment consistent with its business routine when temporary assignments ended.

In awarding workers’ compensation benefits, the trial court looked to statutes limiting awards either to 1) one and one-half times the medical impairment rating, if an injured worker returns to work for the pre-injury employer at a wage equal to or greater than the pre-injury wage, or 2) six times the medical impairment rating if the injured worker does not return to work for the pre-injury employer.  Although Mr. Britt did not return to work, the trial court applied the lesser multiplier based on the temporary nature of Mr. Britt’s employment arrangement.

In its Opinion, the Supreme Court determined that the statutory language does not distinguish between permanent and temporary employees nor require consideration of business practices.  The Supreme Court held that because the employer neither returned the employee to work, nor offered him an opportunity to return to work, nor terminated his employment for misconduct, the statute authorizing benefits up to six times the medical impairment rating applies.  The Supreme Court returned the case to the trial court to re-consider the award under the appropriate statute.

To read the Timmy Dale Britt v. Dyer’s Employment Agency opinion, authored by Justice Cornelia A. Clark, visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov.


BASF Receives Governor's Award of Excellence For Workplace Safety And Health In Chattanooga

Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced that BASF was chosen to receive the Governor’s Award of Excellence for Workplace Safety and Health. The company has two locations in Chattanooga, one on Polymer Dr. and the other on Lost Mound Dr.  Both are being recognized with awards. “BASF has demonstrated strong commitment ... (click for more)

La-Z-Boy Receives Commissioner's Award Of Excellence For Safety, Health

Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced that La-Z-Boy, Inc. located in Dayton was chosen to receive the Commissioner’s Award of Excellence for Workplace Safety and Health.  "La-Z-Boy, Inc. has demonstrated strong commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace," said Commissioner Phillips, who presented the award ... (click for more)

EPB Files With FCC To Expand TV, Phone, Internet Offerings Outside Electric Service Area

 EPB announced Thursday that it has filed a petition to the FCC "in an effort to respond to neighboring communities’ requests for access to the company’s gigabit enabled high-speed Internet service." Officials said, "EPB offers high-speed Internet access, video programming and voice services using a fiber optic communications network that allows the company to deliver these ... (click for more)

Black Creek Developers Say They "Followed The Rules" On $9 Million TIF: To Continue Project

The developers of the Black Creek project at Aetna Mountain said Thursday they "complied precisely by the rules when we applied for and received approval of the TIF district." Doug Stein said the group plans to continue on with the project, which he said earlier would include the creation of a small town on a huge undeveloped tract on the mountain above Black Creek (formerly ... (click for more)

Pickle Ball? - And Response

Collegedale has done some wonderful things for its residents.  The Greenway is a perfect example of money well spent on helping to give her residents the opportunity to improve their lives, at least from a health standpoint. Having taught at Wolftever Creek for a decade plus, I was fortunate to have opportunity to take my classes on walks from time to time.  It provided ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Say It Ain't So, Larry Joe!

Larry Joe Wheelon, the tainted horse trainer who was charged with 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty when his barn was raided in April of 2013 and some animals were sored so badly that they could barely walk, finally went to a court hearing in Blount County on Wednesday and his steps toward Judge Tammy Harrington’s bench were decidedly heavy. My goodness, yours would have been ... (click for more)