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Can my employer refuse to allow me to return to work with restrictions/light duty after an on the job injury?

Downingtown, PA |

I was injured while working due to poor staffing practices and my employer is refusing to allow me to return to work with the restrictions the doctor has set. Other people have been allowed to return to light duty restricted work but I am being told that "we don't do that."

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Attorney answers 4


Yes, there may be remifications, but I will let the employment lawyers respond to your post. What caught my eye, and which is why I am responding, is that it sounds like you have a work injury. Assuming that this is the case, if you were released to return to work and they did not make modified duty work available to you, then your weeky workers' compensation (WC) indemnity benefits should continue to be sent to you. If you are not receiving WC benefits and are out on FMLA or buring through your sick leave, you have an immediate problem that needs to be addressed by myself or one of the other Avvo lawyers who practice WC. Trust that this if helpful. Best of luck to you and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.


From a WC perspective, as Bob indicated, it sounds like you have a WC claim and that you should continue to receive WC benefits until you are able to return to work. If you are not getting workers compensation, I strongly urge you to contact a WC attorney.

From an employment law perspective, your situation sounds like it may violate the American's with Disaiblities Act (ADA). You may want to consider contacting the EEOC or Pa Human Relations Commission to make a claim for disability discrimination. The filing of a claim, alone, may cause your employer to re-think its position. That may be a quick way to get the return to work you aree seeking.

The rules with regard to return to work policies are complicated. Formerly, an employer was allowed to maintain a different set of rules for WC cases than for non-WC cases. It was lawful for an employer to have a return to work program for WC cases, but not the same for non-WC cases. There have been many changes to the ADA rules recently and I am not entirely up to speed. A quick way to get a read may be to contact the agencies mentioned above. Another alternative is to follow Bob' advice and contact an employment lawyer for a consultation. Someone who litigates ADA cases should be able to give you "the lay of the land" in an initial telephone conversation or consultation.

Good luck.

This answer to your legal inquiry is based upon the limited facts stated in your question. Accurate legal advice is based upon an exchange between a lawyer and a client. The lawyer can then ask about other facts that may change or confirm the answer. Without that exchange, this reply should be considered limited in value. You should rely on this answer only at your own risk. Direct consultation with a lawyer is always recommended. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship.


If your injury constitutes a disability (or if your employer perceives your injury being a disability), then you might have an ADA and/or PHRA claim if the others that you are referring to are permitted to return to work on a light duty status because they are neither disabled nor perceived as being disabled.


On the surface, it sounds like your employer's actions may be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Of course, this is dependent upon the number of employees your employer has, as well as the nature of your restrictions, your essential job functions, and the light duty accommodations you are requesting.

Our office handles these types of discrimination claims in Chester County. We have an office in West Chester as well as one in Media.

I would be happy to discuss this situation with you on the phone - please give me a call if you would like. 610-565-3700.

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