Have You Used Your Sick or Vacation Time for a Work Injury?

In 2010, Cody Bell was an employee at the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. Cody was injured in February of 2010, and she had to use her own sick time and vacation just to avoid losing income at work. After 17 months, she finally had surgery. Bell then requested a hearing from the ICA so that she could request reimbursement for the vacation and sick time that she used for her injury. At the time of her injury, the statute said you had to miss seven consecutive days of work, but because Cody used her own sick time in vacation, the ICA judge denied her benefits. After she was denied her benefits, Cody appealed to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals agreed with the ICA and said, yes, if you use your own vacation or sick time, then you can’t say you miss seven consecutive days of work.

She said, no, that’s got to be wrong. So she appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court reviewed the statute and the first thing they reviewed was the seven consecutive days. They said, it’s not seven consecutive days missed from work. It’s seven consecutive days, period. The second part that they reviewed was whether or not an employee needs to miss seven consecutive days without pay, or can that employee supplement their income with vacation time and sick time? The answer was yes. What’s incredible to me is that this employee had to use her own sick time and vacation just to compensate her for her lost income at work, and she was still denied her benefits and she had to appeal to the highest court in Arizona, and it took five years just to get a decision. Hey, if you’ve been hurt at work or injured on the job, don’t jump through these hoops and hurdles alone, contact the law offices of the AZ Howe Town Law Firm at 602-495-1005!


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