Injured Worker's Options When Employer Forces Return to Work
If you are attempting to return to work with various work restrictions, (such as a 10-pound weight restriction with no bending, lifting, or stooping) you should be sure that your employer intends to comply with those limitations. While you should report to work as instructed, under no circumstances should you do work which is outside of the limitations established by your treating doctor. Some employers ignore these instructions and try to force workers to return to their original work responsibilities.
How should you respond if your employer is encouraging you to violate your work restrictions when you return to work?
You should keep a photo copy of your doctor’s return to work restrictions so that you can show the restrictions to any supervisor or manager in the event that they ask you to do work outside those restrictions. If your employer insists that you do work outside your restrictions, tell your employer politely that you would like to do the work, but that your doctor will not allow you to do the work outside your restrictions. You should then call your workers' compensation lawyer to discuss the incident and whether or not further action may be necessary.
You should not avoid going in to work if your employer is not cooperating. It is critical that you always show up for work. This is true even if you suspect that your employer may try to coerce you into working outside your restrictions. You should never give your employer an excuse to terminate your benefits. If you are instructed to return to work, you should do so. This is especially true if the doctor has approved of your returning to this particular job. Failure to return to work will most likely result in the suspension of your North Carolina workers' compensation benefits. You may also be fired by your employer. It is better to show up at work, clock in and do nothing than to fail to show at all.
Once your benefits are suspended or terminated, it is usually very difficult to have these benefits restored.
The point at which you are required to return to work is a very crucial stage in the progress of your workers’ compensation claim. You should not attempt to deal with this matter without the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.