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Sherring v. Indus. Comm’n of Ariz. - 8/9/2018

Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two holds that when employment is conditioned on passing a physical examination, and an injury occurs to a prospective employee during the examination, the prospective employee is not entitled to workers’ compensation.

A prospective employee received a conditional job offer from a city, which required her to pass a physical examination.  During the physical examination and before she passed it, she was injured.  Due to the injury she was unable to begin employment and the city rescinded the offer of employment based on her inability to perform the job.  The prospective employee filed a claim for workers’ compensation with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (“ICA”); the ICA awarded her no compensation because she was not an employee at the time of injury, and an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) affirmed the award.  The prospective employee filed a special action.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the ALJ’s award.  A conditional employment offer is not a contract, and employee status is not obtained until a prospective employee has met all the conditions of the offer.  An injury that occurs during the performance of one of the contingencies of the offer does not occur while the injured person is an employee.  Arizona public policy does not compel a different result; rather the workers’ compensation statute makes clear that only employees are entitled to compensation.

Judge Espinosa delivered the unanimous opinion of the court; Judge Eppich and Judge Brearcliffe joined.

Submitted by: Emma J. Cone-Roddy

Posted On: 10/11/2018