In a ruling named E.R. Moore v. Industrial Commission, the members of our Illinois Supreme Court created a new and unprecedented change to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. In our view, this was “judicial legislation” because their new concept doesn’t appear anywhere in the IL WC Act.
In that claim, they started the concept of “odd-lot” total and permanent disability, ruling an injured worker whose doctors found could perform some work but was unable to locate a job fell into a netherworld they called “odd-lot” total and permanent disability. We have always called the same concept “lazy-lot” because what the ruling did was create a cottage industry of vocational counseling in which the counselors on both sides spent thousands to confirm a claimant made a bona fide job effort or didn’t make a bona fide job effort and therefore was or was not eligible for free, lifetime tax-free benefits. We assert it is comically easy to not locate work while appearing to do so. We are unaware of any other state which has their workers do this silly “not-find-a-job” dance with a massive financial reward for doing so—we are fairly certain the legislature didn’t intend this outcome.
Similarly, in wage loss claims, there is a similar cottage industry which has sprung up in this state in which claimant lawyers either ask treating doctors to provide the “golden diagnosis” of permanent restrictions or the claimant attorneys themselves will send claimant for an FCE with a friendly vendor to get the permanent restriction. Once the worker is “permanently restricted,” the same silly dance of trying to appear to locate lower paying work starts and drifts on and on. Everyone is then asked to magically “impute” a minimum wage job even though claimant never actually gets one—the whole idea is to maximize the claim outcome. After the settlement is approved, claimant after claimant then returns to the top paying job.
We recently read an article on CareerBuilder which shows how simple it is to appear to be looking for work when not actually obtaining a job. We caution job interviewers in Illinois to understand some of these actions may be intentional.
Here are a few outrageous interview torpedoes that made CareerBuilder’s list:
v Provided a detailed listing of how their previous employer made them mad.
v Hugged the hiring manager at the end of the interview.
v Ate all the candy from the candy bowl while answering questions.
v Constantly interrupted the interview to bad-mouth their spouse.
v Wore a hat with large letters that said “Take This Job and Shove It.”
v Talked about how a nasty extramarital affair cost them a previous job.
v Threw a beer can in the outside trash can before coming into the reception office.
We also have seen claims where, after the formal interview, the interviewee hit on or asked to date their interviewer, regardless of sex. We also had one claim where the interviewer confirmed claimant had a strong smell of fish—that won’t appear in their interview notes but it usually would block serious consideration for work (other than for fishermen and women). Our final favorite was the claimant who always started every job interview by loudly asking the interviewer if they hired the “disabled,” as he was disabled due to a work-related injury—it appears such a claimant may be intentionally defeating the interview process as redefined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Interview mistakes aren’t always so obvious but they are fairly common. CareerBuilder surveyed over 2,400 hiring managers about the most frequent interview “torpedoes.” The most common method to avoid being hired was answering a cell phone or responding to a text. Over 71% of respondents said they’ve been in an interview where an applicant answered a cell phone or responded to a text. Dressing inappropriately and appearing disinterested tied for second place at 69%. Acting arrogant hit the list at 66% along with speaking negatively about a current or previous employer 63% and loudly chewing gum for 59%.
Sort of like the “causation” standard above, we hope Illinois WC system finds a way to avoid the vocational rehab dance of ascertaining what a “bona fide” job search might be when there are lots of jobs out there. Please reply with your thoughts and comments.