One of the most frequently asked questions about Michigan workers compensation is whether your boss can force you to go back to work after an injury. There is no simple answer but here is some general information to consider.
Workers compensation is designed to pay benefits to people who are disabled. The person does not receive full pay but 80% of the after-tax value of their average weekly wage. This is to encourage the employee to return to work. Wage loss benefits do not have to be paid if a light duty job is provided. This gives employers a powerful incentive to offer work within an employee’s restrictions.
Reasonable employment is work that poses no danger to health and safety. It is not limited to jobs within qualifications and training. Sometimes this is called favored work or light duty. An employer who does not have reasonable employment available will sometimes make up a position. This can be to your benefit if you receive full pay and have a chance to be a productive worker. Unfortunately, some employers create humiliating jobs that are just designed to harass. The goal is to get you to quit and give up your wage loss benefits.
We advise our clients to try any job that is offered. The employer should be told immediately if the job is outside restrictions or causes excessive pain. Good cause may exist to refuse light duty work. Attempting the job allows a person to challenge an unfair denial of wage loss benefits in court. Testimony can be presented to the magistrate to show that the employer was not living up to their end of the agreement.