Justia Labor & Employment Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Ohio Supreme Court
State ex rel. Cline v. Abke Trucking, Inc.
Employee was injured while working as a truck driver for Employer. Employee's claim was allowed for the injuries. The next year, Employee returned to work. Two days later, Employer terminated Employee for violating written work rules. A staff hearing officer later denied temporary total disability (TTD) compensation, determining that Employee's termination was a voluntary abandonment of employment that barred compensation for TTD. The court of appeals concluded that the Industrial Commission abused its discretion in determining that Employee was ineligible for TTD compensation based upon his termination from Employer and granted mandamus relief to Employee. The Supreme Court (1) reversed, holding that the Commission's order did not meet the standards of State ex rel. Noll v. Indus. Comm'n because the court did not specifically state the evidence relied upon or explain the reason behind its decision that Employee had voluntarily abandoned his employment with Employer; and (2) returned the matter to the Commission to issue a new order stating the evidence relied upon and explaining its reasoning consistent with Noll. View "State ex rel. Cline v. Abke Trucking, Inc." on Justia Law
Freshwater v. Mount Vernon City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ.
The Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education terminated Appellant for insubordination for refusing to remove religious displays in his classroom and injecting his personal religious beliefs into his pattern of instruction, all after being forbidden to do so. The trial court found that clear and convincing evidence in the record supported Appellant's termination for insubordination in failing to comply with the district's orders to remove religious materials from his classroom. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court held that the lower courts did not err in affirming the termination, as there was ample evidence of insubordination to justify the termination decision. View "Freshwater v. Mount Vernon City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Kelsey Hayes Co. v. Grashel
Appellant, who worked for Employer, filed a workers' compensation claim that was allowed for hypersensitivity pneumonitis and hypersensitivity-induced reactive upper-airway disease. Claimant returned to work, but after his symptoms returned, he stopped working in 2004. In 2005, a staff hearing officer with the Industrial Commission denied Appellant's request for temporary total disability compensation, concluding that Appellant's smoking-related disease caused his exacerbated symptoms. In 2007, a staff hearing officer awarded Appellant permanent total disability compensation. Employer filed a complaint for mandamus, which the court of appeals denied. The Supreme Court reversed and granted the writ, holding that because the Commission had conclusively established in 2005 that the exacerbation of Appellant's symptoms that forced him to stop working in 2004 was caused by smoking, not by the allowed conditions in his claim, the Commission erred by determining that Appellant's decision to stop working was not a voluntary abandonment of the workforce. View "State ex rel. Kelsey Hayes Co. v. Grashel" on Justia Law
Mahoning Educ. Ass’n of Dev. Disabilities v. State Employment Relations Bd.
A public employer (Employer) and an employee organization representing the Employer's employees (Union) operated pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. After the Union began negotiations for a successor contract, Employer held a board meeting during which Union representatives picketed outside the building. The picketing was related to the successor contract negotiations. Employer later filed an unfair-labor-practice charge with the State Employment Relations Board (SERB), alleging that the Union had violated the requirement of Ohio Rev. Code 4117.11(B)(8) that employee-union picketers give their employers and SERB ten days' notice before they engage in informational picketing. SERB found that the Union had committed an unfair labor practice by failing to give the required notice before picketing. The appellate court reversed, holding that the notice requirement was unconstitutional when applied to informational picketing. The Supreme Court affirmed, not on constitutional grounds but based on its statutory interpretation, holding (1) the notice requirement of section 4117.11(B)(8) does not apply to picketing that is merely informational in nature and unrelated to a concerted refusal to work; and (2) therefore, the statute did not apply to the picketing activity in this case, and the failure to give notice did not constitute an unfair labor practice. View "Mahoning Educ. Ass'n of Dev. Disabilities v. State Employment Relations Bd." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Black v. Indus. Comm’n of Ohio
Billy Black was employed as a press operator for Park Ohio Industries, Inc. when he injured his back. Black subsequently retired, after which he did not pursue vocational training or seek other employment. Several years later, Black applied for permanent total disability (PTD) compensation. A hearing officer with the Industrial Commission denied the application on the grounds that Black's retirement was both voluntary and an abandonment of the entire workforce. The Tenth District Court of Appeals granted a limited writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to vacate its order denying PTD compensation to Black. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals and denied the writ, holding that because the record contained some evidence to support the Commission's decision that Black's retirement was voluntary and not injury-induced, the Commission did not abuse its discretion in determining that Black was ineligible for PTD compensation. View "State ex rel. Black v. Indus. Comm'n of Ohio" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Hoffman v. Rexam Beverage Can Co.
Appellant injured his knee while working and was awarded temporary total disability (TTD) compensation. Several years later, Appellant retired. The next year, Appellant underwent knee surgery and again filed for TTD compensation. A staff hearing officer denied benefits on the grounds that Appellant was ineligible because he had voluntarily retired and abandoned the workforce. Appellant subsequently filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus, which the court of appeals denied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Industrial Commission did not abuse its discretion in relying on the evidence that Appellant had voluntarily retired from the workforce and was no longer eligible for TTD compensation. View "State ex rel. Hoffman v. Rexam Beverage Can Co." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Estate of Sziraki v. Adm’r, Bureau of Workers’Â Comp.
Dean Sziraki was seriously injured in the course of his employment and spent the next sixteen years as a quadriplegic. After Sziraki died in 2007, his estate filed a claim for death benefits. The Bureau of Workers' Compensation (Bureau) awarded compensation, but the benefits did not include accrued compensation for scheduled-loss benefits pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 4123.57(B) for the loss of use of Sziraki's arms and legs. The Industrial Commission awarded compensation for the total loss of use of Sziraki's four extremities for 850 weeks. The Commission, however, limited the amount payable to period of two years, the amount Sziraki would have been entitled to had he filed for compensation on the date of his death, due to the two-year limit on retroactive payment under section 4123.57(B). The court of appeals denied the estate's writ of mandamus requesting an order that the Commission award the full 850 weeks. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission did not abuse its discretion when it limited payment of the benefits to the two years preceding Sziraki's death; and (2) the court of appeals correctly concluded the Bureau had no duty to award the benefits during Sziraki's lifetime in the absence of an application. View "State ex rel. Estate of Sziraki v. Adm'r, Bureau of Workers'Â Comp." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Sigler v. Lubrizol Corp.
Terry Sigler was employed by the Lubrizol Corporation when he was injured. A staff hearing officer with the Industrial Commission awarded Sigler permanent-total-disability compensation. Lubrizol filed a motion for reconsideration, which the Commission granted. Following a hearing, the Commission vacated the award. Sigler filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus in the court of appeals, contending that the Commission had abused its discretion in issuing the reconsideration order because one of the two commissioners voting to overturn had not attended the hearing but had relied on an oral summary of the evidence from a Commission hearing officer who had attended the hearing and taken handwritten notes. The court of appeals issued the writ of mandamus requiring the Commission to vacate its order, concluding that the Commission's hearing did not comport with the due process standards set forth in State ex rel. Ormet Corp. v. Indus. Comm'n. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals and denied the writ, holding that Sigler failed to demonstrate that the Commission's voting procedures violated due process. View "State ex rel. Sigler v. Lubrizol Corp." on Justia Law
Bernard v. Unemployment Comp. Review Comm’n
Appellant was employed by Employer until December 2009. In 2009, Appellant authorized Employer to deposit $900 of her monthly earnings into a flexible-spending account for tax-free reimbursement of medical expenses. After Appellant was terminated from employment, she applied for unemployment compensation benefits. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) denied benefits, ruling (1) Appellant was required to have earned an average weekly wage of at least $213 for twenty qualifying weeks to be eligible for unemployment compensation, (2) the amounts that went into Appellant' flexible-spending account were not remuneration for purposes of determining her unemployment compensation eligibility, and (3) with the exclusion of those amounts, Appellant's average weekly wage was only $125. The Unemployment Compensation Review Commission affirmed. The court of common pleas and court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ODJFS's interpretation of the relevant statute was lawful and reasonable. View "Bernard v. Unemployment Comp. Review Comm'n" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Scott v. Indus. Comm’n
Appellant was employed as a laborer by County Saw & Knife. Appellant successfully sought workers' compensation after he developed respiratory problems from his exposure to metal dust. One year later, Appellant applied for an additional award, alleging that Country Saw violated specific safety requirements (VSSRs). The Industrial Commission denied Appellant's application, concluding that County Saw had not violated the VSSRs. The court of appeals denied Appellant's request for a writ of mandamus that would require the Commission to vacate its order denying Appellant's application. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant did not present sufficient evidence to establish that he was entitled to an award for a VSSR in addition to his extant workers' compensation benefits. View "State ex rel. Scott v. Indus. Comm'n" on Justia Law