Traditionally, it is notoriously difficult for the employer to succeed before the Commission on a notice defense. However, on October 11, 2017, the court issued a decision affirming a finding that claimant did not give notice of her injury to her employer within 90 days. The case involved a cumulative back injury that manifested itself on October 10, 2011. Claimant gave formal notice to her employer that her injury was work related on August 13, 2012, well after the 90 day window. Notwithstanding her failure to give formal notice within 90 days, claimant argued that the employer had “actual knowledge” well before claimant officially reported the injury. In support of her argument, claimant relied on evidence that the employer received a “fitness for duty” authorization form from her treating doctor dated October 27, 2011 stating “[claimant] may have to leave work early if lower back pain gets aggravated.” However, because the form did not specifically state claimant’s condition was work related, the court affirmed the Commission’s ruling that the employer did not have actual knowledge of claimant’s injury. Therefore, pursuant to Iowa Code § 85.23, claimant was barred from recovering benefits.
Callahan v. Horseshoe Casino, No. 16-2230 (Iowa App. Oct. 11, 2017).