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.


Local Utilities Raise Awareness Of Utility Worker Imposters

Tennessee American Water, Chattanooga Gas and EPB are raising awareness of utility worker imposters. Imposters may try to scam customers either in-person at their home or business or by phone.  When coming to a private residence or business to perform work, legitimate utility workers with Chattanooga Gas, EPB and Tennessee American Water always will wear a uniform ... (click for more)

Airnet Group Named Microsoft 2016 U.S. Education Rising Star Partner Of The Year

Airnet Group, Inc. announced it has been named the 2016 U.S. Education Rising Star Partner of the Year by Microsoft.  The U.S. Public Sector Partner of the Year awards were presented during Microsoft’s US Public Sector Industry Solution University yearly event, where Microsoft’s Public Sector executive team was on site to congratulate Airnet for its achievements. Winners ... (click for more)

2 Shot Tuesday Afternoon On Windsor Street

Chattanooga Police responded on Tuesday to the 2100 block of Windsor Street, on a report that two people had been shot.   Upon arrival, officers located two victims suffering from gunshot wounds. Their injuries are non-life threatening at this time. Both victims were transported to a local hospital by Hamilton County EMS.   Two suspects were reported to police. ... (click for more)

Erlanger Reports Dramatic Increase In Flu-Like Illnesses

The number of influenza-like illnesses treated at Erlanger Health System shows a dramatic increase compared to this time last year.  Erlanger reported treating 156 patients with flu like illnesses between Feb. 12 and 18 of this year. This represents a significant increase from the seven cases reported during the same week last year and 15 cases reported approximately a month ... (click for more)

Judge Doug Meyer Lived A Full Life Helping Many

I was sadden to learn of the death of Judge Doug Meyer.  Judge Meyer retired from the Criminal Court bench here in 2006.  Prior to that he had been the Chattanooga city judge for several years.  As a young attorney I tried many cases in front of Judge Meyer.  Also while I was awaiting my case to be tried, I would observe him on the bench.  Judge Meyer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Marshall’s 3% Folly

The National Health Interview Survey is believed to be the best gauge of health and behaviors in the United States. It is under the umbrella of the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so first let me share that the figures I am going to present are directly attributed to what is the best source believed to be out there. I didn’t make these numbers up and I had nothing ... (click for more)