Can a Prisoner Pursue Job Referrals While In Prison ?
In Mitchell v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Steve's Prince of Steaks), 572 Pa. 380, 815 A.2d 620 (2003), the Supreme Court held that while an employer shows good faith in providing an incarcerated claimant with job referrals, an incarcerated claimant does not show bad faith for failing to pursue job referrals while in prison.
The Court explained:
We reaffirm Kachinski's teaching that the obligation of the employer in an instance such as this remains "a good faith attempt to return the injured employee to productive employment, rather than a mere attempt to avoid paying compensation." (Kachinski v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Bd. (Vepco Construction Co.), 516 Pa. 240, 532 A.2d 374 (1987)).
The same circumstance that absolved the employer in Banic of the futile responsibility of showing job availability should absolve the claimant in a circumstance such as appellant's from having to engage in the pursuit of a job he cannot possibly accept because of his incarceration. (Banic v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Bd. (Trans-Bridge Lines, Inc.), 550 Pa.276, 705 A.2d 432 (1997)).
Here, as in Banic, the very principles that powered the decision in Kachinski make clear that the construct does not apply. Id. at 392, 815 A.2d at 627-628.