A light-duty job offered to a woman used to heavy lifting turned out to be a no-duty job she was entitled to quit, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled last month.
Melissa Ann Carpenter said she was “driven crazy” by having nothing to do in the clerical position involving data entry and filing. Carpenter had worked for Rochester Cable as a ferring operator before a shoulder injury required surgery.
Although the company said her job was supposed to last six to 12 weeks, she completed the data entry in less than a week, the filing within two weeks. She “begged everybody” for additional work, and told the employer she did not expect to “go in there and do nothing” and “to be driven crazy.” Her husband said she came home crying from being “stuck in a room begging for work.”
Carpenter quit after seven weeks. In an unpublished opinion written by Senior Judge Sam W. Coleman, the appellate panel upheld her continued workers’ comp benefits, saying she justifiably refused light-duty work.
By Deborah Elkins