Reasonable Commuting Distance for Light Duty Job Offer

In re Richard Gramelt, BIIA Dec. 09 21629 (2011)  The worker filed an appeal from a Department Order ending time loss compensation based upon a finding that he was able to work. This determination was based upon the employer’s offer of a light-duty position as an administrative assistant in its Portland office, which was 68 miles from the worker’s home.  The Board ultimately reversed the Department’s determination, and declared that the employer’s job offer was not valid based upon the length of the commute, which, round trip, totaled 136 miles. Because of the worker’s limitations upon prolonged sitting, he would have had to pull over six times over the duration of the trip, and walk for a total of 30 minutes.

Summary:  To constitute a valid light duty job offer, the offered employment must be within the worker’s relevant labor market, which requires the job be within a reasonable commuting distance.  Here, in light of the worker’s physical limitations related to the industrial injury, 136 miles was not a reasonable commuting distance.