Refusal of a bona fide job offer has a drastic effect on an injured workers’ entitlement to temporary total disability benefits.
For injuries occurring after 10/1/95 temporary total disability benefits shall cease if the employer refuses an offer of work that is consistent with the rehabilitation plan. If no plan has been filed; TTD ceases if the employee refuses an offer of gainful employment that the employee can do in the employee’s physical condition. Once temporary total disability benefits had ceased for failure to accept a job offer it may not be recommenced.
Suitable Gainful Employment
Under Minn. R. 5220.0100, subp 34. “Suitable gainful employment” means employment which is reasonably attainable and which offers an opportunity to restore the injured employee as soon as possible and as nearly as possible to employment which produces an economic status as close as possible to that which the employee would have enjoyed without disability. Consideration shall be given to the former employment and the employee’s qualifications, including, but not limited to, the employee’s age, education, previous work history, interests, and skills.
The Court has also looked at such other factors including family, disruption of employee’s normal work patterns, commute, relocation, and others in determining if a job offer is suitable gainful employment.
Employee’s Physical Condition
The job offer must be for work at the employee “can do in the employees physical condition.” Ultimately, whether a particular job is physically suitable for constituting a question of fact. The employer has the burden of proving that the job offered was physically suitable and that the employee’s refusal was unreasonable.
The refusal of a job offer will only terminate TTD benefits. It does not automatically affect other benefits.
As you can see, refusing a suitable job offer can severely affect your entitlement to wage loss benefits. Make to consult with your attorney and/or QRC before turning down a job offer.