Can my employer force me to return to work after a serious injury on the job?
I had a dislocation and fracture to my left shoulder. Doctor said 6 weeks in a sling and only use right arm. Employer made me see another doctor who said 4 weeks in a sling. First doctor wants me to start therapy on 12/15/20. My supervisor was told to figure out what one-handed jobs I could do but he told me they really didn't have any one-handed jobs and I would have to figure it out for myself how I would do them. I was told if I take 6 weeks off they would have to replace me because they can't be without me that long.
Manager said I already used up all my vacation time and couldn't request any more time off until March. He also told me "Do not under any circumstances talk to a lawyer" He also said if I wanted to keep my job, he realized I was working with only one hand but I was going to have to pick up my game to compensate for it.
I have to lift heavy boxes which I now need help with and supervisor wasn't happy about since I have to get another employee to do part of my job. Since this is a Workman's Comp injury cause by a poorly trained employee and their faulty equipment (emergency stop failed) I was told I was lucky I wasn't hurt much worse. I was actually knocked out of the way, fell off of a platform and landed on concrete, but had I not been knocked out of the way, it very well could have been my funeral.
I was only off for a few days but got a call from my manager and was told I would need to return to work and do my job one-handed based on the doctors report.
I can't use my left arm at all until the doctor says I can, the trouble is there are no jobs where I work that I can do with only one hand. I'm risking a more serious injury to myself and I'm putting others around me at risk as well.
- ?Lv 52 months agoFavourite answer
Your employer cannot force you to return before your doctor says you're ok to work. Since this is a workers comp case, document everything, including the threats your employer has made. If they can't give you work that you can perform with your limitation, then workers comp has to continue to pay you. They can't fire you while you're out on WC. You should not be using vacation time or any other PTO to get paid. You should be receiving a paycheck from your employer's workman's comp carrier. Are you sure the claim has been filed? Sounds like you may need to have a consultation with a comp attorney. Don't listen to threats from your employer.
- garryLv 52 months ago
are you saying you unfit for light duties even when your dr said you could do light duties ..
- 2 months ago
Telling you not to hire a lawyer is a huge red flag. That's abusive, actually.
I've been told that by people before and the first thing I did was to hire a lawyer, and I was always glad I did. You can discuss with the lawyer your fears about reprisals and how to proceed in the safest manner.
I'd want to get out of there. You might as well take some settlement money with you when you go.
- MamawidsomLv 72 months ago
Does the employer have an HR department? Are you on workers comp? You can feel free to consult an employment attorney or the HR department.
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- Anonymous2 months ago
Yes, your employer certainly can require that you return to work, you are NOT entitled to 4 to 6 weeks of sick leave because your arm is in a sling. Your employer may put you on light duty if light duty is available, if not, then you will be required to complete your job to the best of your ability. If you are unable to complete your job safely and in a timely manner, then you are subject to termination for cause so no unemployment. Also since your employer instructed you not to speak to an attorney, if you do so anyhow, that is known as insubordination and grounds for immediate termination for cause.