A worker for a provider of disabilities in Ohio who applied for temporary total disability after filing a workers' compensation claim after a back augmentation in 2015 and who tested positive for marijuana use may still be entitled to benefits, the Supreme Court ruled in Ohio Friday.
The Industrial Industrial Commission previously denied Christopher T. Merritt's claim for disability compensation after his injury while working for New Avenues to Independence Inc. because the commission found that Merritt had violated her employer's drug-free workplace policy, thereby "voluntarily abandoning her employment" and make him entitled to benefits ”according to state law, according to documents in Staten ex rel. Merritt v. Industrial Commission of Ohio et al., filed in Columbus.
Alleging that the Commission had abused its discretion, Merritt asked the Tenth Court of Appeal for a mandate for a mandate ordering the Commission to hold a new hearing because marijuana use ̵
Following the Board of Appeal's denial of the letter, Merritt lodged a new appeal, arguing that "the Commission's order does not provide evidence that the Commission relied on to conclude that his failed drug test was the reason for his dismissal," according to documents.
Divided into its decision, the Supreme Court approved and wrote "because the order does not specifically state what evidence the HR interrogator relied on to reach the conclusion that Merritt was terminated for violating her employer's drug-free workplace policy and thus voluntarily abandoning her
In its decision, the Court ordered the Commission to 'leave its previous decisions, reconsider Merritt & # 39 ;s claim and enter into a new order requiring his dismissal. (1) specifically states what evidence the Commission has relied on to reach its conclusion and (2) briefly explains the reason for the Commission's decision. ' the highest court case in which the court relied on granting the letter – State ex Rel Mitchell v Robins & Myers Inc. – has little "precedent"
According to the dissenting opinion, "Merritt himself points to the positive drug test, the drug-free workplace policy and" its offspring have been severely undermined by subsequent law development. " the dismissal notice as the basis for the staff hearing officer's decision – he just does not agree that this evidence supports a finding that he was terminated for using marijuana.
One of the dissenting judges said that the letter should be denied on the grounds that "there is little confusion as to what evidence the Industry Commission relied on to make its decision."