Michigan workers’ comp lawyer discusses light duty job offers and what constitutes good cause for refusal.
Employers don’t have to pay wage loss benefits if they give a person a job within their restrictions. This is a powerful incentive to get people back to work. Unfortunately, this process is sometimes abused and clients are often asking if they can refuse light duty on workers’ comp in Michigan. Our answer is yes, if good cause exists.
Light duty is a a job within the employee’s capacity to perform that poses no clear and proximate threat to his or her safety. Failure to refuse and perform a light duty job under workers’ comp in Michigan without good cause can result in a forfeiture of wage loss benefits.
What is a light duty job?
Light duty refers to a specific job, rate of pay, and location to work. It is not limited to jobs within a person’s qualifications and training, and it does not have to pay full wages. Distance from home and timing of the offer are also factors. Wage differential should be paid if full wages are not.
Before refusing a light duty under Michigan workers’ comp, 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. Failure to do light duty results in a suspension of wage loss benefits.
Watch out for employers who offer demeaning jobs for the sole purpose of harassment. This could be a basis to refuse light duty under Michigan workers’ comp if the job is ridiculous. We recommend speaking with an experienced attorney before walking off the job.
Can I refuse light duty on workers’ comp in Michigan?
In Michigan, you can refuse light duty on workers’ comp but only if there is good cause for refusal. The light duty job must be something that can be performed safely and within restrictions. It must not be too far from a person’s home, and the timing of the offer must not be unreasonable. Differential should be paid if the light duty job does not pay full wages.
Employees who are being forced back to work beyond restrictions have a basis to challenge a disputed claim. Insurance companies also use so-called “independent” medical examinations to modify restrictions. It is important to have a conversation with your treating doctor about what types of work activities are safe and appropriate. Medical treatment should be covered even if it is found that a person has refused a light duty job offer.
Sometimes a light duty job offer is at a different location from where a person normally works. This is fine provided it is not an excessive distance from their home. Timing of the light duty job offer is also important. A person cannot be expected to show up to work at a moment’s notice but must be given sufficient time to make arrangements.
Have questions? Call our attorneys now!
If you are injured on the job in Michigan and have questions about your workers’ comp claim and the impacts of refusing light duty may have on your case, call now or fill out our contact form for a free consultation. There is absolutely no cost or obligation. Our attorneys are here for you.
Our attorneys have been exclusively helping injured workers in Michigan for more than 35 years. Our attorneys can help you better understand Michigan work injury laws and what happens after someone has been hurt on the job. To see what our own clients have to say about the caring, compassion, and communication they received from us, you can read in their own words about their experience here on our testimonials page from clients we have helped.
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.