Reasonable commuting distance (California) (California)

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Reasonable commuting distance (California) (California)

Postby fernrep on Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:27 pm

What distance is generally considered a "reasonable commuting distance" for an offer of modified work? Any citations for this? Our client has been offered a modified position some 50 miles away.
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Re: Reasonable commuting distance (California) (California)

Postby stevepsca on Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:49 pm

I've never seen a defined distance, but wouldn't that be negotiated during the interactive process... and
4658 (f) The condition that regular work, modified work, or alternative
work be located within a reasonable distance of the employee's
residence at the time of injury may be waived by the employee. The
condition shall be deemed to be waived if the employee accepts the
regular work, modified work, or alternative work and does not object
to the location within 20 days of being informed of the right to
object.
The condition shall be conclusively deemed to be satisfied
if the offered work is at the same location and the same shift as the
employment at the time of injury.

If you going with traffic on I-10 there no doubt would be objection to anything more than 30 min vs 30 miles. While travel against traffic may be acceptable at 55 miles... one hour from Tustin to downtown LA. Again, am/pm dependant.

The above appears to permit the EE to accept, while retaining the right to object within 20 days.
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Re: Reasonable commuting distance (California) (California)

Postby stewshe on Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:59 pm

stevepsca,

I agree with your reasoning. LC §4658.1(a), (b) & (c), define regular, modified and alternate work as requiring a "...reasonable commuting distance from the employee's residence at the time of injury."

What is "reasonable" is fact specific. A commute of 5 miles might be unreasonable if there are no roads and the only way from the "bunkhouse" to the job site atop a mountain is a daily climb up and down the mountain!

On the other hand, some people commute 100 miles or more each way by vehicle to a job they want. Thus, it makes sense for the ER to offer work, but in that case I agree an EE could reasonably decline.

My Work Comp Index, 7th ed., had 21 paragraphs and sub-paragraphs on "Reasonable Geographic Area." I just added another for the next edition due late spring/summer of 2010:

▪ “Access standards” for MPNs discussed at CCR §9767.5, e.g., (b) noting a PTP
....and hospital for emergency services must be within 30 minutes or 15 miles from
....employee’s residence or workplace, but (d) provides when an MPN is being set up
....proposed alternate standards may be requested

An argument by analogy is possible, but a daily commute for work is different from a commute for medical treatment. It makes sense to me for a commute to work to be longer, both in terms of distance, or time, each of which are important.

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Re: Reasonable commuting distance (California) (California)

Postby fernrep on Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:03 am

Thank you for your answers.

The date of the offer was 10-6-09. At that time the applicant was unrepped. Additionally, he is a nurse that is placed at various locations, so, on the notice, the specific location is not even given. However, yesterday, he received a form outlining his duties, but, again, not specifying the location - however, he was informed, orally, that the location is some 55 miles from his residence.

Given that there is no location on the initial notification, I believe this to be improper. However, we are passed the twenty days to object. Can you give me some input on how to proceed?
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Re: Reasonable commuting distance (California) (California)

Postby stevepsca on Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:49 am

Looks like there could be some issues outside the comp arena here... I always get the acronyms crooked, but what I'm thniking of amount to DLSE/dept of labor standards and enforcement. Whether it's fed or state don't recall or overlap... anyway, if he is 'home based' at a specific facility, and travels from location to location, there could be mileage, travel time etc issues invovled in this. Is this 'new' job, basically the same as pre injury job description ? Travel pre injury ?

Just as a 'ie';... I worked for a major dept store, based at 'home store', and travelled to 3 others on a weekly rotation basis... no travel/mileage for home store, but paid travel time and mileage for the others, from home store to outlier location. Schedule was 8 to 5, when travelling there was 20 drive time each way, so paid 8 hours but arrive 20 min ''late'' in the am, and leave ''early'' pm. (hope that made sense)

"we are passed the twenty days to object"....but possible "ah ha'' there...have you been noticed of the right to object?
and does not object to the location within 20 days of being informed of the right to object.
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