SW Legal Educational Publishing

Lying on Medical History Form, When Relevant to Employment, Results in Loss of Benefits
Description A Kansas high court held that when an employee is fired for lying to an employer on a medical history form, the employee is to be denied unemployment benefits for misconduct if the medical history was relevant to the employment.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Workers Compensation; Unemployment Benefits; Medical History; Misconduct
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Pouncil was hired by Grede Foundries as a janitor. When she was hired, she filled out a medical history form on which she stated that she had never filed for compensation benefits or received benefits as a result of a work-related injury. After one week of work at Grede she filed a work-related injury claim for carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist injury). She told the workers compensation hearing officer that she had received workers compensation previously. Grede fired Pouncil for lying on the medical history form. She applied for unemployment benefits, which were denied by the state. Pouncil sued; the district court held that she was due benefits. Grede appealed.
Decision Reversed. An employee has a duty or "obligation reasonably owed the employer as a condition of employment." This duty is violated if requested health information that is material is not revealed to the employer. The test of materiality is whether the employer requires knowledge of injuries to protect its employees and itself from workplace injuries. Since Pouncil's wrist injuries were material to her work as a janitor, her failure to reveal this history was misconduct on her part, for which unemployment benefits are to be denied.
Citation Pouncil v. Kansas Employment Security Board of Review, - P.2d - (2000 WL 126087, Sup. Ct., Kan.)

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