Claimant was injured in the course and scope of his employment with Employer. The Employee was demoted four months prior to his injury. His salary dropped from $43,769.00 to $33,000.00. A dispute arose out of the proper method of determining his annual salary in order to calculate his average weekly wage.
The Employer claimed that the proper method to determine the annual salary for a salaried employee in order to calculate his average weekly wage was to use his annual salary at the time of the incident and divide by fifty-two. Therefore, the Employee’s annual salary was the post-demotion amount of $33,000.00.
The Employee claimed that the proper method to determine his annual salary in order to calculate his average weekly wage was to use the sum of his wages for the previous fifty-two weeks of employment and divide by fifty-two. Using the Employee’s method, his annual salary was $42,824.76.
The Office of Workers’ Compensation Judge agreed with the Employer. The Employee appealed.
The Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal stated that La. R. S. 23:1021 provided, in pertinent part: “(13) “Wages” means average wage at the time of the accident… (c) Annual wages. If the employee is employed at an annual salary, his annual salary is divided by fifty-two”. The Court also noted that the Employee’s method would also have a deleterious effect on recently promoted employees. The Court found no error with the Office of Workers’ Compensation Judge’s findings and the ruling was affirmed.
Augusta v. Audubon Zoo