Labor Market Surveys for Injured Maritime Workers
Workfinders USA labor market surveys (LMS) are an accepted form of vocational proof for maritime employers needing to establish an injured worker's wage-earning capacity. These surveys:
While a claimant has the burden of demonstrating that an injury has occurred, after establishing that the claimant cannot return to work due to injury, the burden shifts to the employer to demonstrate that realistic job opportunities exist within the claimant’s restrictions, geographic range and other factors. When the employer offers such opportunities, the claimant has an obligation to attempt to secure suitable employment.
When a claimant cannot return to her or his prior job due to injury and/or the claimant has returned to work at a reduced wage-earning capacity, vocational evidence is needed. The employer isn’t required to rehire the injured worker or prove the injured worker was offered a suitable job, but must show the availability of actual jobs within the local community, as well as actual pay for jobs sourced within that community – considering the claimant’s age, education, and experience. Part-time jobs and self-employment may constitute alternate employment.
Employers who’ve relied on general job category surveys (e.g., LMS based on statewide statistics instead of a personal investigation of actual job openings) have had these surveys rejected as “theoretical showings”: inadequate proof of suitable alternate employment. They learned a costly lesson: that showing actual job openings with specific employers is essential. Under the worst-case scenario for employers, when they fail to prove a wage-earning capacity, the end result has been a declaration of “total disability” for the claimant – with lifetime benefits. This is why it is crucial to understand the process your vendor takes in not only finding jobs, but verifying the jobs to be suitable and obtainable.
The Workfinders USA LMS division brings a “best practices” approach to labor market surveys that includes direct contact with hiring managers via cold-calling. Instead of listing “theoretical” positions that often don’t hold up to scrutiny, our surveys contain actual, real-world, available jobs that have been verified. As a result, you get the thorough, complete, particularized LMS required for maximum defensibility in legal environments.