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May 2008 Newsletter - Employee Termination on Workers' Comp Leave

Can you terminate an employee on Workers' Compensation Leave? - June 2008

Magna HR
Ohio Supreme Court Revisits Employers' Right to Terminate

Ohio Supreme Court Revisits Employers’ Right to Terminate Employees on Workers’ Compensation Leave
Nicole J. Gray, Esq.
May 2008 

Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court revisited its prior decision regarding the right of an employer to terminate an employee who is on a leave of absence and is receiving workers’ compensation benefits.  In Bickers v. W&S Life Insurance Co. (Ohio 2007), 116 Ohio St.3d 351, the Court clarified that at-will employees in Ohio do not have a common-law action for wrongful discharge merely because they were terminated while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Prior to Bickers, it appeared that employers were unable to terminate an employee who was on a leave of absence, receiving workers’ compensation benefits and unable to return to work, even though that employee had exhausted all available leave afforded to him or her under the employer’s policy.  Therefore, employers were left in a state of utter confusion- they were unable to terminate an employee who physically could not work and they were unable to enforce neutral leave of absence policies.  

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You can afford a VP of HR...on a part time basis

Many small- to mid-sized businesses are familiar with an outsourced CEO or CFO.  This is a higher-level professional that typically works on a part-time basis but brings a much greater level of knowledge and experience to the organization than they could afford on a full-time basis.  Many Venture Capital (VC) firms use this strategy by temporarily deploying their own management team into an organization following an acquisition in order to speed up the integration and develop the corporate structure needed to succeed.

Well what about an on-site HR Executive?  While MagnaHR is dedicated to our core HR outsourcing and administration business which focuses on the tactical side of human resources, many of our clients have called upon us to assist on a regular basis with more strategic initiatives such as acquisitions and divestitures, employee relations, salary planning, performance management, staffing and recruiting, training and development, etc.  Much of this can be done on a consultative basis but we have found that it is typically much more beneficial to the organization to have an “on-site” presence on a part-time basis to function as the Vice President of Human Resources.

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