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Workers' Comp benefits do not include unreported tip income - MA

A hair stylist was injured at Rob Roy Coiffures and received Workers’ Compensation benefits. She argued that her tips should have been included in calculating the amount of her benefits because the employer’s procedure for collecting and distributing tips meant they knew her tip income, even though she did not report it on her income tax. The Massachusetts Supreme Court, while acknowledging policy concerns raised by the case, determined that cash tips are included in “wages” only to the extent that the employee has reported them to the IRS.

On-duty firefighter injured while playing basketball awarded Worker's Comp – WI

In March 2007, a firefighter was on active 24-hour duty when he injured a bicep while playing basketball with fellow firefighters. The injury kept him out of work for nearly four months. When he applied for Worker’s Compensation benefits, the city denied his claim, arguing the injury did not arise out of his employment or while performing services incidental to employment. The Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) determined that he was entitled to benefits because the job demanded fitness activity while on active duty and a Wisconsin appeals court upheld the decision.

High on marijuana, worker mauled by bear receives Workers' Comp - Montana

A Montana Supreme Court overturned the ruling of a lower court that had denied Workers’ Compensation benefits to a nature park worker mauled by a grizzly bear in 2007. While the employee admitted he was high on pot at the time, the court indicated that the pot habit didn't contribute to his injuries.

In its ruling, the court said grizzlies "are equal-opportunity maulers" and that there was no proof that Hopkins provoked the attack because he was high.

Wellness program upheld despite charge for nonparticipation

A federal district court ruled on April 11, 2011, that a wellness program did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) despite its charge for those employees who declined to participate. A class action was brought by current and former employees of Broward County, Fla., who incurred a $20 charge for declining to participate in a health questionnaire and biometric screening as part of a wellness program.

Presumption of 100% impairment when worker unable to return to "usual employment" is not rigid - MS

A Mississippi appellate court has ruled that the term "usual employment" is broader in scope than the job held at the time of the injury and that the presumption of 100% industrial loss when a worker proves he or she can no longer perform the substantial acts of his or her “usual employment” is not a rigid concept. The scope can include jobs in which a claimant has past experience, jobs requiring similar skills, or jobs for which the claimant is otherwise suited by age, experience, education, and other factors.  Accordingly, the court held that it was an error to award a 100% industrial loss to a police officer when medical evidence indicated he sustained a 25% impairment to his left leg and when, after leaving his patrolman job, took a better position as a warrant officer with another police department, was eventually promoted to the Investigations Unit, and was paid $10,000 more annually than at the time of his injury."

6th Circuit: Evidence of employee's poor performance defeats ADA claim

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment against an employee who did not create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether she was fired due to her disability where the employer was able to introduce “overwhelming evidence” of poor performance. Despite the accommodations made by the employer, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (DMHDD), for the employee who was blind in one eye and had cerebral palsy, the work was “plagued with problems.” The 6th Circuit noted serious spelling and grammatical errors with computer programs with a spell-check feature as well as other errors and concluded the errors could be attributed to “nothing more than her lack of attention to detail."