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Justifiable refusal of suitable employment favorable to claimant reversed by 1st DCA.

January 1, 2019
Employbridge and Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc. v. Viviana Llanes Rodriguez, No.1D17-4424, 1st DCA, Sept. 7, 2018

The employer appealed an order awarding temorary partial disability after the judge of compensation claims found that the claimant’s refusal to accept the employer’s offer of suitable employment was justifiable under § 440.15(6), Fla. Stat. The claimant was first hired in the employer’s Tampa office. She transferred to Largo and then moved there to be closer to work. Following the work accident, she was offered a clerical position in Tampa. The judge found that her refusal of this position was justifiable because of a 17-mile commute; her language limitations; a single vehicle in the family (mainly used by her husband during his odd work hours); her unfamiliarity with public transportation; and her suggestion of dependence on other family members to drive from Tampa to Largo to pick her up, take her back to Tampa and then back to Largo at the end of the workday. Judge Osterhaus opined that the claimant offered ordinary, manageable and self-imposed commuting limitations rather than reasonable justifications for refusing the suitable work offered by the employer. The First District Court of Appeal reversed the judge of compensation claims, simply stating that the record did not support the conclusion that the refusal was justifiable.

 

Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2019

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