Community College Instructor’s North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim Rejected by ESC

July 25, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A relatively high profile North Carolina workers’ compensation case has ended in victory for the defendant, Nash Community College. The case involved a GED instructor named Jamaal Johnson, who had worked for the college in 2007.

According to the facts as stipulated by the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the petitioner sought workers’ compensation in connection with a work absence from April 26th through June 19th of 2007. Mr. Johnson had a note from Dr. Raymond Baule, which claimed that Mr. Johnson would not physically be able to work during this period. However, the college’s HR department noted that Dr. Baule was not regarded as a qualified workers’ compensation physician. HR thus set an appointment for Mr. Johnson with a second doctor, Dr. Robert Saul, to reevaluate the complaint. After observing the petitioner, Dr. Saul concluded that there was “no reason” why Mr. Johnson could not return to work. The HR department sent several letters to Mr. Johnson, alerting him to the fact that he had not qualified for North Carolina workers’ compensation needed to return to work. But the petitioner never claimed (or possibly ignored) those letters. Eventually, the college fired the instructor for his absence. Mr. Johnson subsequently sought unemployment benefits pursuant to North Carolina law and got turned down. In March of 2009, he appealed to the state’s Employment Security Commission for a more positive ruling, but the ESC turned him down as well because it weighted Dr. Saul’s opinion (as an official workers’ comp doctor) more highly than it did Dr. Baule’s.

Jamaal Johnson v. Nash Community College, North Carolina Court of Appeals, March 3, 2009

The ballad of Jamaal, Baule and Saul, The HR Specialist, June 21, 2009

More Web Resources:

Nash Community College

Workers’ Compensation Rules in NC

 
 

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