One person’s trash might be another person’s treasure but for the claimant whose light duty assignment was to sort donations and greet customers, the treasures were apparently too stinky and overpriced for his sensibilities.

The claimant, a 53-year-old part-time store associate, injured his back while working for a large discount retailer in South Carolina.   His employer provided him light duty work following the accident, but after he relocated to Durham, NC, the employer chose an alternative work accommodation program by ReEmployAbility.  The Transition2Work program helps pair workers with local non-profit organizations to provide paid volunteer services while recovering from an injury.  After the claimant’s treating physician approved the duties, an assignment at a nonprofit thrift store was extended.  The non-profit needed help sorting donations and greeting customers.  After only a few hours, the claimant left, stating the store stunk and that he did not like the work.

The claimant was offered another assignment, this time at Habitat for Humanity.  When he appeared for the interview, he proceeded to advise the HR personnel he did not approve of their business practices and continued to make disparaging remarks regarding their operations.   The claimant criticized the prices they were charging for donated items.  He was not offered the assignment.   The pre-injury employer terminated the claimant for refusal to accept light duty work offered.

Following the hearing, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission ruled that “the claimant is entitled to no temporary total compensation as light-duty work was provided by the Employer and refused by the claimant.”  To read the entire ruling, visit

ReEmployAbility’s Transition2Work Program works with employers nationwide to help accommodate light duty work for their employees.
This information is made available for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.