Michigan workers’ comp lawyer discusses offers of reasonable employment and what happens if an employer does not comply with work restrictions.
Employers are given a powerful incentive to bring disabled employees back to work. They don’t have to pay workers’ comp benefits if they give a person a job. Problems occur when the employer is not complying with work restrictions. Many of our clients have suffered under this burden until they contact our office and find out about their legal rights.
Reasonable employment is defined as work within the employee’s capacity to perform that poses no clear and proximate threat to that employee’s health and safety. Failure to perform restricted work can result in a loss of wage loss benefits. It is very important to speak with a treating doctor and make sure he or she gives appropriate work restrictions.
Offers of reasonable employment must refer to a specific job, rate of pay, and location. It is not limited to jobs within qualifications and training so expect the unexpected. It cannot be too far away from home as this would be good cause to refuse the job. Timing is important because some disabled employees are forced to move away to get help from family. Moving in bad-faith can be used as a reason to stop payment.
We tell our clients to show up and see what job is being offered. This is important because many employers bluff and want a disabled employee to quit. Employer not complying with work restrictions? Tell a supervisor if work is too hard and request to go home. Immediately follow-up with a doctor and make sure it is documented.
Employer not complying with work restrictions again? This usually happens when a disabled employee is sent to an independent medical examination (IME). These doctors are handpicked by insurance companies to find nothing is wrong. The disabled employee is given a choice of returning to unrestricted work or losing their job. It is critical to contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer should this occur. An Application for Mediation or Hearing can be filed seeking additional workers’ comp benefits and it will be up to the magistrate to determine if payment should be made.
Bad employers will also have disabled employees perform demeaning jobs. We have seen people given meaningless tasks like watching an empty parking lot or sitting in the bathroom. The goal is to get the disabled employee to walk off the job. This will result in a forfeiture of workers’ comp benefits. Speak with a lawyer to make sure legal rights are protected.
Getting fired while on light duty can also result in problems with workers’ comp. This usually happens when someone fails a drug test or is written up for job performance. We all know that employers can find any excuse to fire someone. It is important to challenge bad actions and hold the employer accountable. It may be possible to file a separate lawsuit for wrongful termination. This is especially true if a disabled employee was retaliated against for seeking workers’ comp benefits.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.