I'm a nurse that injured my back at work. I was placed under light duty restrictions. The manager on my unit does not want me to come to work at all and will not make the accommodations for me to work under my restrictions. Can she legally do this?
In most states they are not required to find you light duty but are required to pay temporary benefits if they don't in an admitted case. It is generally up to the employer to decide if they want to accommodate the injured worker, and in most cases the insurance company is pushing them to do so, but they have to make that decision. If you have specific questions use the find a lawyer feature and seek out someone near you to talk to about your claim.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate by providing feedback that the answer was either "helpful" or "best answer" as appropriate. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Connell is a Colorado attorney licensed in only that state. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question.
Yes. An employer is not obligated to provide an injured worker with light duty work. However, if your employer does not accommodate your restrictions, the workers' compensation carrier should pay you temporary partial disability benefits (lost wages). This will continue until you have either reached maximum medical improvement or have received 104 weeks of benefits.
As Mr. Friedman said, there is no workers' compensation law that obligates the employer to make a light-duty job for you. I often explain to my clients that if the client and I were in a business together that involve manual labor and one of our employees was injured on the job but had physical restrictions assigned by his doctor such that he could not do any of the jobs that we had open, we would not be obligated to create a job for him. However, if the employer has work available within your physical restrictions, I believe it would violate Florida law for them to discriminate against you based upon your having been hurt at work. If for instance, the employer has three jobs that you could do with your physical limitations but they hire someone else for those jobs rather than give them to you simply because you were hurt at work, you may have a claim outside of workers' compensation for employment discrimination. If your employer does not bring you back to a light-duty job earning at least 80% of your gross average weekly wage preinjury, you would be entitled to what is called workers' compensation temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits which are a maximum of 64% of your gross average weekly wage preinjury subject to a statewide maximum cap
Disclaimer: the above does not constitute legal advice and is only an opinion of the author as to current law. You should consult an attorney with questions about your particular situation.
There is no provision under the. Florida Workers's Compensation Act, which compels an employer to provide light duty work; and as such, it becomes a business decision for the employer. In Orlando, we have 2 main hospital net works, and it has been my experience that they both would rather the injured worker stay at home, than for them to come up with light duty work. Having said that, under the Americans with Disability Act, a qualified employer is required to provide "reasonable accommodations" to an employee with a "disability." They need only accommodate the position you were already working in - they do not have to put you in a different light duty job. Some positions can not be "reasonably accommodated" - ie. If a package delivery person was injured and are now a paraplegic, there is little chance such a physical job can be accommodated. I had a case where my client was an injured employee but was able to do the essential functions of his job, by being allowed to sit on a chair/stool as needed. New management decided none of the employees should be provided chairs/stools, because they found some workers sleeping on the chairs - my client was not one of the people sleeping in the chairs. My client could not stand a full work shift and needed the accommodation. He was terminated since he could no longer work a full shift, and we pursued an ADA claim and were successful,.Obviously, his disability could be reasonably accommodated, because they had done so for years.
i would suggest that you review your job description, and consider if reasonable accommodations are available for the essential functions of your position. I hope this was helpful.
I see this all the time. The employer is not obligated to provide you with light duty work, so you will be forced to collect temporary partial disability benefits. It sounds like the manager does not want you back unless you are full duty with no restrictions. If your injury results in a permanent injury such that you can't go back full duty to your past work duties, then your employer might terminate you. This is the typical scenario in Florida. If you start to get the feeling based upon how your manager is treating you that it looks like they are looking for an excuse to fire you, hire a lawyer. A lawyer can ensure you get all the benefits you are entitled to under the law and enter into a separation agreement as opposed to termination to avoid the stigma of getting fired.
Chadwick J. Lawrence, Esq. Orlando, Stuart and Tampa Av rated by Martindale-Hubble, Superb AVVO
As others have pointed out, the employer is not obligated to accommodate you if you are on light duty. That being said, the carrier would owe you TPD benefits, assuming you have not reached MMI yet. If you haven't spoken to a workers compensation attorney, you may want to seek at least a consultation from one.
Not obligated to provide light duty, but obligated to pay you so long as you are on light duty restrictions and not at MMI.
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