|Former Putnam County employee awarded sick pay|
|Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8:50 PM|
By Nancy Kline
OTTAWA — A former county employee has been awarded her sick pay in a small claims case in Putnam County.
Patricia Clementz, Cloverdale, has been awarded $2,664.51, which after deductions would result in the amount claimed of $1,916.58. The ruling was made by visiting Judge John T. Rohrs III. Clementz represented herself in court.
Clementz, a former maintenance custodian employee for Putnam County, had filed a small claims case against the Putnam County Commissioners seeking her sick pay after being discharged on Aug. 28, 2013.
According to public records in the Putnam County Commissioners’ office, Clementz requested, upon her doctor’s orders, a change in the description of her work duties due to certain disabilities. Upon review of the request the commissioners denied the request, stating she was unable to perform the essential job duties of her position. The records cited the Ohio Administrative Code 123:1-30 that allows for involuntary disability separation.
Records indicate that Clementz, on Sept. 10, signed an agreement that provided for her to be paid for her unpaid vacation time. The agreement also advised she should apply for disability benefits. The commissioners indicated verbally that she was to apply for disability prior to her receiving her unpaid sick leave.
Court records indicate that Clementz indicated she was told that her signature was a formality and no one had specifically told her she had to file for disability to receive her sick leave pay.
The commissioners contended that the issue was a matter of contract law and involved a condition precedent of filing for disability on the part of Clementz before they would agree to pay the accumulated sick leave pay.
The judge ruled that regarding it as a matter of contractual, it was obvious that the parties did not have a meeting of the minds.
Court records indicate that it was apparent Clementz had become unable to perform her job duties and that the commissioners were desirous of assisting as best they could, noting she was close to retirement and had she been eligible for retirement, she would have received her accumulated sick leave time. The commissioners also indicated they would not object to unemployment being filed on behalf of Clementz.
The judge ruled that requiring Clementz to do a worthless act, such as filing for a “disability separation” was of no benefit to the county, and with the lack of understanding, being told signing was a mere formality, the commissioners intended for Clementz to receive her accrued sick leave pay under these “extraordinary circumstances.”
“Thanks to family and friends who while supportive demanded and encouraged me to go through with this. Judgement speaks for itself,” Clementz said.