VA Code 65.1-63 Interpretation

In Johnson v. City of Clifton Forge, 7 Va. App. 538, 375 S.E.2d 540 (1989), the Court considered whether negative conduct by a claimant at a new job interview, such that it prevented the offer of a new job, could constitute an unjustified refusal of selective employment, invoking former Code 65.1-63 (denying compensation to an injured employee who unjustifiably refuses employment procured for him suitable to his capacity). The Court held: Code 65.1-63 would be rendered meaningless if an employee could defeat its provisions by purposefully conducting himself in an interview so as to insure that an employer would not make an offer of employment. In addition, where an employee had undergone vocational rehabilitation training pursuant to Code 65.1-88, this Code Section also could be rendered meaningless and ineffective if the employee could ultimately defeat selective employment by his negative conduct at a job interview. Finally, the commission has the ability to weigh the evidence in a given case to determine whether an employee has purposely conducted a job interview to prevent an offer and ultimate employment from being procured by the employer. For these reasons, we hold where the commission determines on sufficient credible evidence that an employee unjustifiably refuses to cooperate with the placement efforts of the employer, such conduct is tantamount to an unjustified refusal of selective employment under Code 65.1-63 and an actual offer of employment is not a prerequisite to a finding of such refusal. Id. at 547, 375 S.E.2d at 546.