Under the Tennessee Workers Compensation Act an employees recovery for a work injury is limited to 1.5 times their impairment rating if the employee returns to their pre-injury employer at the same rate of pay. I will admit that I do have mixed feelings with regard to this law. I do appreciate the fact that it encourages an employer to rehire the injured employee. Unfortuanlty, the compensation available under the comp act is already so limited it leaves an employee with such a nominal monetary award for a permenant injury that it is simply not equitable.
The law also has a safety provision that allows the employee to reopen the case if they loose their job within a certain period of time. For example, if a person has a shoulder or back injury and their compensation is capped becuase they return to work they may reopen the case if they loose the job within 400 weeks of the return to work date. Well the legislature just enacted an exception to this reconsideration right.
Specfically, if the employer reduces the injured employee’s pay that employee may not reopen the case if it is the result of an economic downturn. To ensure that this is truly a pay reduction because of an economic downtown and not a punishment for filing a work comp claim the law states that atleast 50% of the employees working for the company must also have ad a pay reductions. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
If you have lost your job and had a prior workers compensation claim feel free to contact our office to see if your case can be opened. You can contact our Nashville or Memphis office at 800.705.2121.