Fire Captain’s Slow Job Search Hinders Benefits

     (CN) – A fire captain who worked for 38 years is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because he waited too long to find a new job, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled.

     After decades of managing workers and responding to emergency calls, 61-year-old Warren Edward Smith took the advice of his cardiologist and sought less stressful employment.
     Smith retired at the end of 2006 and found a part-time job assembling signs 11 months later. The workers’ compensation commissioner granted Smith partial benefits.
     The James City Fire Department and the Virginia Municipal Group Self-Insurance Association appealed the decision, and Judge Frank agreed with them that Smith was not entitled to the benefits.
     Frank ruled that Smith did not make a strong effort to get a new job, citing Smith’s testimony that he spent the first 10 months of 2007 “looking at ads” and “putting feelers out.”
     “Claimant waited until less than two weeks before the deputy’s hearing to conduct a legitimate job search. By severely limiting the window of opportunity for better paying jobs, we conclude claimant did not exhibit ‘good faith’ in his job quest,” Frank wrote.

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