Articles Posted in Employment Law

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In consolidated appeals, the issue before the Supreme Court was whether the manifestation of an occupational disease outside of the 300-week period prescribed by Section 301(c)(2) of the Workers’ Compensation Act removes the claim from the purview of the Act, such that the exclusivity provision of Section 303(a) does not apply. After careful consideration, the Supreme Court concluded that claims for occupational disease which manifest outside of the 300-week period prescribed by the Act do not fall within the purview of the Act, and, therefore, that the exclusivity provision of Section 303(a) does not apply to preclude an employee from filing a common law claim against an employer. Accordingly, in these cases, the Court reversed the Superior Court's decision.View "Tooey v. AK Steel" on Justia Law

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Appellant Annette Shoap sustained a work-related injury in the nature of a left shoulder injury while working as an employee of Phoenixville Hospital. She began receiving temporary total disability benefits pursuant to a Notice of Compensation Payable dated 2003. The treatment for Appellant’s injury included three surgeries and physical therapy. In 2007, the employer filed a modification petition alleging both that Appellant’s physical condition had improved and that work was generally available to her within her physical restrictions in the relevant geographical area, as demonstrated by two labor market surveys. Appellant denied the material allegations of Employer’s petition, and a hearing was held before a Workers’ Compensation Judge. After the WCJ ruled in the employer's favor, Appellant unsuccessfully appealed to the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board and Commonwealth Court. On appeal to the Supreme Court, Appellant asserted that the Commonwealth Court erred by concluding that “substantial gainful employment existed” for purposes of granting a modification of her compensation benefits pursuant to Section 306(b) of the Workers' Compensation Act, despite the fact that her application for the specific jobs involved failed to result in any offers of employment. Secondarily, Appellant argued that the Commonwealth Court, even if correct in its interpretation of Section 306(b), erred by not remanding the case for further evidentiary development based on its interpretation of Section 306(b), which Appellant contended represented a change in the standard for evaluating cases under that statute. After careful review, the Supreme Court agreed with Appellant's second contention, and reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Phoenixville Hospital v. WCAB (Shoap, Aplt)" on Justia Law

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The issue on appeal to the Supreme Court in this case centered on whether the Commonwealth Court erred by affirming the reversal by the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (“WCAB”) of the decision of a workers’ compensation judge (“WCJ”) that granted Appellant Philip Payes's claim application. The WCJ determined that Appellant was entitled to workers’ compensation disability benefits based on factual findings that Appellant established the existence of a mental disability that had been caused by abnormal working conditions. Upon review, the Court concluded that the Commonwealth Court erred in reversing the WCJ’s decision, and accordingly reversed the order.View "Payes v. WCAB (PA State Police)" on Justia Law