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In Appeals Panel Decision No. 152184, decided December 29, 2015, t he Appeals Panel reversed
the hearing officer’s determination that the employer tendered a valid bona fide offer of employment
(BFOE) to the claimant, and rendered a new decision that the employer did not tender a BFOE to
the claimant. The hearing officer had found that the employer had issued two offers of employment,
both of which had complied with Rule 129.6.
The two offers, dated approximately one week apart, stated, “The position will entail the following
physical and time requirements” and then listed various work restrictions as noted on the DWC-73,
such as “No standing for more than 1 hour per day,” “No [kneeling]/squatting more than 1 hour per
day,” “No pushing/pulling more than 2 hours per day,” “Must wear splint/cast at work,” and “No
driving or operating heavy equipment.” The claimant appealed the hearing officer’s determination
that these were valid BFOEs, arguing that both offers of employment fail to comply with Rule
129.6(c)(4) because they merely list the restrictions given by the claimant’s treating doctor rather
than state the actual physical and time requirements that the position will entail.The Appeals Panel agreed, noting that Rule 129.6 sets out the requirements for a BFOE and
provides, in part, that “an employer’s offer of modified duty shall be made to the employee in
writing and in the form and manner prescribed by the [Division],” that “a copy of the [DWC-73] on
which the offer is being based shall be included with the offer as well as . . . a description of the
physical and time requirements that the position will entail.”
The Appeals Panel noted that it has previously held that the language in Rule 129.6 is clear and
unambiguous, and that the rule “contains no exception for failing to strictly comply with its
requirements.” In this case, neither offer of employment listed the physical and time requirements
the offered position would entail, nor did they state the specific job position that was being offered.
Instead, both offers of employment only listed restrictions of what the job would not entail, which
does not meet the requirement listed in Rule 129.6(c)(4). Accordingly, the employer did not tender
a BFOE to the claimant.
This decision is a reminder to carriers and employers to ensure their BFOEs to claimants include a
full description of the requirement of the offered position. It is not a bad idea to clarify that the
employee will not be required to perform duties that he/she is specifically prohibited from
performing as noted on the DWC-73; however, the job offer must also include the physical
requirements, time requirements, and state the specific job position that is being offered in order to
meet the requirements of a valid BFOE under Rule 129.6. Appeals Panel Decision No. 152184,
decided December 29, 2015.