Commission Held That Claimant-Flight Attendant, Who Found Post-Injury Work As Receptionist, Was Entitled To Wage Differential Award

Claimant was injured while working as a flight attendant for defendant. Defendant did not offer her a light duty position or institute vocational rehabilitation services. She had worked as a flight attendant for 27 years and was earning $868 per week at the time of the accident. She testified that she conducted a job search that consisted of submitting resumes to employment agencies, making telephone calls from newspaper ads and talking with friends about possible employment. She was able to obtain employment as a law office receptionist. Her duties consisted of answering the phone, opening mail and speaking with clients on the telephone. She earned $360 per week.

The arbitrator awarded wage differential benefits pursuant to section 8(d)1, finding that claimant had sustained a partial incapacity in her ability to earn wages as a flight attendant for defendant. The arbitrator further found that claimant’s current employment as a receptionist was suitable employment as contemplated to section 8(d)a, for she was 46 years old and had been employed as a flight attendant for the majority of her adult life. She had little, if any, transferable skills in the job market.

Upon review, the Commission affirmed and adopted the decision of the arbitrator.