Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Case Study #20519 - No Production Pace and Occasional Contact with Others

A case on remand from the federal courts that results in a favorable decision.  I want the ALJ to adopt the prior residual functional capacity. The ALJ thinks that the RFC will result and benefits as of age 55. I think that it results and no jobs for a younger individual or an individual closely approaching advanced age. Here is the residual functional capacity:
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b); except, she would be able to lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, she would have no limitations in sitting, standing and/or walking. However, she could not work around unprotected heights or dangerous moving machinery. She would be unable to perform any climbing of ladders, ropes or scaffolds, and she must avoid sun, so she would be unable to perform any outdoor work activities. Lastly, she would be limited to unskilled, simple, repetitive tasks with no high production quotas or rapid assembly line work, and only occasional contact with coworkers and little or no contact with the public.
My primary concerns turn on unskilled, simple, repetitive tasks, no high production quotas, no rapid assembly line work, occasional contact with coworkers and little or no contact with the public. The theory of the case is simple: the absence of production quotas or assembly line work precludes work in the manufacturing sector; the preclusion to more than occasional contact with coworkers precludes clerical function; the limitation to little or no contact with the public eliminates service occupations. My question to the vocational expert consisted of reading the RFC assessment. The vocational expert responded, "no jobs."

The ALJ doesn't believe it. The ALJ does not ask the vocational expert for an explanation but turns to me and asks for an explanation.  I gave him my theory of the case. The ALJ asks about cleaner work. My response is simple, cleaners are part time jobs and therefore not presumptively substantial gainful activity. The ALJ turns to the vocational expert and asks for an explanation about cleaner jobs.

The vocational expert admits to having recently conducted a labor market survey and job analysis confirming that cleaners in hotels and motels (1) work with teams of other cleaners, and (2) have high production quotas between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM to get all the rooms on two floors of a hotel or motel cleaned so that the establishment can rent them out again. The ALJ asked about office cleaners. The vocational expert responded that those are janitors and generally medium.

We can verify the absence of light cleaner jobs that fit the hypothetical question.

37-2012.00 - Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

Series ID: ORUP1000062300000662
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of maids and housekeeping cleaners; strength is light work
Requirement: Physical Demands
Occupation: maids and housekeeping cleaners
Estimate: strength is light work
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual23.1

37-2012.00 - Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

Interpersonal Relationships%Response
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
59
Constant contact with others
35
Contact with others most of the time
2
Contact with others about half the time
3
Occasional contact with others
2
No contact with others
Interpersonal Relationships%Response
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
37
Extremely important
24
Very important
18
Important
20
Fairly important
1
Not important at all
Structural Job Characteristics
%
Response
Duration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.
4
More than 40 hours
35
40 hours
60
Less than 40 hours

Within the context of maids and housekeeping cleaners, less than a quarter require light exertion; only 5% have occasional and no contact with others; only 1% do not work with a group or team as an important job function; and 40% work full time. The data confirms the vocational expert's testimony.

A quick check of janitors confirms the vocational testimony.

37-2011.00 - Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

Series ID: ORUP1000062200000662
Not seasonally adjusted
Series Title: % of janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners; strength is light work
Requirement: Physical Demands
Occupation: janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners
Estimate: strength is light work
YearPeriodEstimate
2017Annual10.9


37-2011.00 - Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

Interpersonal Relationships%Response
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
32
Constant contact with others
39
Contact with others most of the time
6
Contact with others about half the time
21
Occasional contact with others
1
No contact with others
Interpersonal Relationships%Response
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
34
Extremely important
41
Very important
16
Important
4
Fairly important
6
Not important at all
Structural Job Characteristics
%
Response
Duration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.
1
More than 40 hours
64
40 hours
35
Less than 40 hours

The data finds that janitors have a much smaller incidence of light exertion; have more jobs with occasional or less contact with others; still have the vast majority working with a group or team; and the majority working full-time hours. The vocational experts a synthesis that the scope of the hypothetical question would preclude janitors and cleaners is reasonable. 

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