In United Airlines, Inc. v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission gave the petitioner weekly wage differential payment of $277.06. The Workers’ Compensation Commission indicated that the payments should continue the duration of the disability he suffered as a consequence of his employment. In this case the arbitrator had ruled that the wage differential benefit should end effective April13, 2018. The arbitrator had found that United Airlines had proved that the claimant will be earning more in a new job than if he had remained a ramp service worker (old job). The arbitrator concluded that he could fairly determine claimant’s pay without guessing or speculating based on the collective bargaining agreements between respondent and petitioner. The Commission adopted the ruling of arbitrator accept that it ordered the wage differential to continue during the duration of the disability. The trial court reversed this decision. It agreed with the arbitrator’s decision.
The Appellate Court in United Airlines concluded the Commission was right. The trial court had reversed the Commission and used the arbitrator’s decision.
The court indicated that, while the act may not be perfect, it does not provide many methods by which to correct errors in the earning capacity and earning proved by the employee. Instead, “the award must be calculated as of the date of the arbitration hearing.”
In the case before the court, the respondent had presented evidence of the claimant’s future earning capacity. In included his future wage schedule, which included step increases, over a ten (10) year period. The court said that the projections were speculative because the judge could not predict changes in future union contracts and United Airlines, Inc. future performance.
This decision is well taken. The trial court did not understand workers compensation law. The commission is supposed to find the wage loss as of the trial date.
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