Disability Under the “Odd-Lot” Doctrine
The “odd-lot” doctrine is an avenue by which a worker may be found to be totally disabled based on unemployability rather than just the degree to which he is injured. It provides that, although a worker is not completely unable to work, his condition is such that he will not be regularly employed in any reasonably stable area of the labor market. The hallmark of placement in the “odd-lot” category is a job prospect that is irregular and unpredictable.
The “odd-lot” doctrine is beneficial to workers who are not obviously unemployable or for whom medical evidence is lacking to support their total disability claim. The worker carries the burden of showing a lack of employment opportunities for a person suffering from his condition and taking into account his age, experience, training, and education. One way to do this is to present evidence of the worker’s diligent, yet unsuccessful, efforts to find work or by offering proof that he can only perform menial tasks for which there is no stable job market. Once the worker establishes admittance to the “odd-lot” category, the employer must counter with proof that there is suitable employment available to the worker on a regular and continuous basis.