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Can I be suspended from work for not bringing work release with me, although i was medically released from my Dr?

Spokane, WA |

Hurt my back on the job, doctor released me to work urging light duty. I felt obligated to go back to work with out taking time off due to threat of being fired. I didnt take my work realease with me to work. Boss then demanded me to leave his property at once, calling me names. i tried leaving after he did this where at that time he pulled me to the side again just to say what he had already said. He was going to fire me over his anger, and settled on suspening me for a week. Now the manager called telling me that I am only sheduled for one day when I return to work citing that they hope to get me the other 32 hours. I had a steady schedule before suspension with regular overtime (which the boss complains about) I feel this is his way of getting back at me and taking hrs i depend on

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Attorney answers 2


I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.

It doesn't sound like you were suspended for not bringing a work release so much as for being injured on the job or having a medical condition. In most circumstances, a suspension for these reasons would be unlawful. There are various sources of POTENTIAL protection related to your medical status.

There is limited protection if the illness or injury is caused by a serious medical condition as that is defined by law.You may be protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2101 et seq. (FMLA) if all of the following is true: (a) your employer has at least 50 employees who work within 75 miles of one another; and (b) you have worked for this employer for at least one year all together, even if not consecutively; (c) you have worked for this employer at least 1,250 hours in the immediately preceding year; and (d) you have a serious medical condition as defined by the FMLA. The FMLA allows employees to take leaves of absence from work without repercussion, up to a maximum of 12 weeks per year. Leave can be in increments as short as fractions of an hour.

Please look at my Avvo guide on the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2101 et seq. (FMLA) to see if that law applies in your situation:

If the condition is due to a disability as defined by law, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq. (ADA) may provide some protection. Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA: There must be at least 15 employees for the ADA to apply. This law protects you from discrimination (adverse treatment) DUE TO disability and also requires the employer to provide reasonable accommodation (change in the manner in which work is done) so you can do the main parts of the job (essential functions).

Finally, if the condition is due to on-the-job injury or is caused by work, your state’s workers' compensation laws may provide some relief. This is an obvious area for you to pursue, given the source of your injury.

Employment law is complicated and fact specific. You may wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney in your state. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in your area, please go to the web site of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.

Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and in many cities. On the NELA web site, you can look at the list of affiliates. Some attorneys will be listed in the affiliate membership list, some in the national organization membership list, and some in both. Being listed in one or both lists should not influence your selection because attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase the listing in the national directory. Each local affiliate has its own rules for listing.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


You do not indicate whether you have filed a workers' compensation claim or not. If you have not, you should do so immediately. This is done by you and your doctor filling out a form and filing it with the Department of Labor and Industries. Since you are not working due to your work injury, you will be entitled to timeloss or loss-of-earning-power benefits. The so called "suspension" may make it difficult for you to get the Department of Labor and Industries to begin paying you benefits. If this occurs or if you have other problems with the claim, you should contact an attorney who handles workers' compensation claims.

An attorney will ask you questions about the status of your workers' compensation claim, what formal legal orders have been issued, your employment status, your medical status, and other issues.

If appropriate, an attorney might get a copy of your entire claim file to review it in detail. He or she will then be able to give you some idea what is really going on and whether you would benefit from actually having an attorney represent you. This type of consultation and claim review should be done free of charge. Good luck to you!

Grady B. Martin
The Grady B. Martin Law Office
(206) 452-1261