Here are some things to know before returning to work after an injury.
After someone is injured, the manner in which she is treated by the company is important in determining the future of the working relationship as well as legal action. Consider the case of Deborah Phillips. Cancer-stricken Phillips was granted an approved medical leave by her company, but was later told that she was not eligible for over 12 weeks of sick leave because she was “an employee in a non-competitive title and not considered a permanent civil service employee.” The manner in which she was treated by her employer was enough to start a legal dispute. In the end, Phillips won.
According to VPP Porcelain Press before returning to work, an employer must determine that the worker can return to fulfill his job in a “manner that promotes health, safety and productivity.” Furthermore, the returning staff member must be evaluated to determine whether they can perform assigned duties in a “safe and reliable manner.”
If you are unable to perform the tasks you originally did when hired because of a personal injury, then your employer may offer you “transitional work,” which is “is work that allows the temporarily or partially disabled injured worker to remain safely on the job,” as one disability insurance company states.
If you have suffered a work injury, then the best thing to do is to file a workers compensation claim. If you are denied your claim despite evidence that the company is responsible then you may have grounds for a lawsuit. If you are fired or laid off because of filing such a claim you can also sue your employer.
If you have suffered a personal injury but were not injured on the job, then your rights may vary from state to state. However, as the case of Deborah Phillips proves, the company cannot totally discount your service just because you are permanently or temporarily disabled, as this would be tantamount to work discrimination.
The American Occupational Therapy Association states that an occupational therapist can evaluate a person’s ability to complete her job in a safe and reliable way. The therapist has the following obligations:
- Evaluate a person while on the job.
- Recommend modifications to job tasks.
- Identify a worker’s meaningful job tasks.
- Implement and supervise a company’s return-to-work program.
- Monitor a worker’s progress regularly.
The organization also states that it’s important that a worker returning to work not overestimate his abilities, but take the advice of the occupational therapist and develop strength. Obviously, the worker should not succumb to peer pressure exerted by the employer to work at a faster or stronger pace than is healthy.
If you have suffered a job injury and are attempting to go back to work remember to be careful and to work hard, but within your means and according to your new safety guidelines. If the company is making unreasonable demands or is showing signs of discrimination based on your disability, then you may have to seek legal counsel.
Rasansky Law Firm handles cases of personal injury and unpaid workers compensation claims. If you think your rights are being violated then contact one of our accident attorneys at 1-877-405-4313 or complete our online form. You have no obligations and your first consultation is free!