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.


State Representative Kevin Brooks Encourages Residents To Utilize Annual Sales Tax Holiday

With the beginning of a new school year right around the corner, State Representative Kevin Brooks is encouraging the families who live in House District 24 to utilize the state’s annual sales tax holiday to save on items such as clothing, school and art supplies, as well as computer purchases.   The state’s annual Tax Free Weekend is set for July 28-30. It begins at 12:01 ... (click for more)

Photo Gallery: Pinnacle Financial Partners Opens New Office On Shallowford Road In East Hamilton County

Fire Causes #32,000 In Damage To Ooltewah Home

Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) battled a house fire at 4137 E. Freemond Circle (Ooltewah) early Saturday afternoon. At  12:52 p.m. , a 911 call was made reporting a fire in the basement of her home. Tri-Community VFD responded and arrived on the scene reporting heavy smoke coming from the basement of the home. Firefighters worked quickly to contained ... (click for more)

Fire On Rogers Road Temporarily Leaves 2 Families Homeless

An early morning duplex fire left two Chattanooga families temporarily homeless.   The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at  3:01 a.m. on Saturday  and responded to 4513 Rogers Road with five fire companies. Battalion Chief Rick Boatwright said the first arriving firefighters located the fire in the kitchen of the "A" side of the duplex. ... (click for more)

Do Something To Protect Our Children

It is unconscionable in this day and age that these children had to exist in such deplorable conditions and that an innocent baby suffered and died alone in a locked car.  Yes, there is blame and accountability considering this family had child neglect charges filed a few years ago (that were apparently dropped and expunged) and a large part of the responsibility should ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Dear Friend Jake

Two weeks ago four of us piled in a car to go down to Canton, Ga., so we could tell Jake Butcher goodbye. Bob McKamey, former mayor Ron Littlefield, a dazzling guy named Steve Wilson, and myself. This would be the last time any of us would see Jake. It was a spectacular day and anyone who doesn’t believe in such goodbyes is missing out on the greatest moment in their life. It is ... (click for more)