We’ve talked a little about work restrictions after a work injury on the blog in the past, but we didn’t really focus on your rights when it comes to work restrictions and duties after an injury. You have certain protections after a work injury, and we want to help explain your rights so you don’t end up in a tough spot if you’ve been given work restrictions after an injury. Below, we explain what you and your company can and can’t do if you’ve been placed on work restrictions or light duty.
Work Restrictions and Employer Obligations
Here’s a closer look at what protections an employer must consider after a worker suffers an injury:
You Can’t Be Fired For Having Them – Your employer cannot fire you for having work restrictions. They also cannot force you to work outside of the restrictions set forth by your doctor. If either of these things has happened, contact your workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
Employer Must Accommodate – If your employer is going to put you on light duty because of your work restrictions, they must accommodate your work restrictions to their best extent, find you alternate and appropriate work, or provide you with vocational rehabilitation and training if you aren’t going to be able to return to your previous role.
Doctor Visits – Your employer must allow you to visit the doctor so you can receive appropriate care for your injuries.
Work Restrictions and Your Obligations
Here’s what you need to do on your end if you’ve been given work restrictions after an on-the-job injury:
Inform Your Employer – Your employer can’t be held responsible for not accommodating to your restrictions if they do not know about them in the first place. You or your Qualified Rehab Consultant must provide your employer with a clear record of your work restrictions.
Try The Work – If the employer receives the restrictions, and they provide you with duties they believe fall within those restrictions, you must try the work to see if you can perform the duties. If you find that you can’t perform the work, you need to schedule another appointment with a doctor to have your restrictions updated.
If You Can’t Work, Don’t Work – Don’t work outside of your restrictions, and if your company can’t find a role that suits your restrictions, don’t try to push through the pain. You are entitled to wage loss benefits if you are unable to work after an injury. The goal of workers’ compensation is to provide the employee with a source of income while they heal, and nobody wants you to make your injury worse.
Challenge Unrealistic Demands – Finally, there may be instances where your employer offers you a light duty position that simply causes more trouble than it’s worth, and a conflict arises even though the employer is technically following the law. For example, let’s say that instead of your normal 9-5 job, they offer you part-time hours working nights at a plant that’s an hour away. Your lawyer may be able to argue that these are unreasonable accommodations, so talk to your lawyer if you have any concerns about the work your employer is giving you after a work injury.
For more information about work restrictions, or to talk to a lawyer about your legal options, contact Dean and the team at Margolis Law Office today.
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