There might be quite a few people that try to tell you otherwise, but healing from an injury is a frustratingly slow process. Most people just don’t understand it because they have never been seriously injured before. However, whether it is permanent or temporary, if you have been hurt at work, you might not be able to do what you once did. Luckily, workers are protected from being fired due to their work injury. However, one of the most common tactics used by employers to help cut down on dead weight is to put the injured worker on light duty work.
“Light duty” typically constitutes as work that is less strenuous than what you were doing. Is light duty work bad? Not by any means. Some employers do it as a kindness and it is often welcomed by injured workers. However, it is not always advantageous to take it.
Get Your New Job in Writing
Whenever you get hired for a new job, you will, or rather, should always get a description of your job duties in writing. It should be the same when you are changing jobs at the same company even if it is rather sudden. You want to get a job description in writing just so they do not try to tack on other responsibilities as well as to find out if this “light work” is indeed less work than your previous positions.
Unacceptable Light Work Circumstances
There are a number of different circumstances that should prevent you from taking a new light duty job. Always remember that you are not obligated to accept this new position. They cannot fire you because you are injured, and if they fire you for the basis of refusing a new position, you can fight it if it falls within some of the circumstances below.
- Requires Relocation – If you are already injured and having trouble sorting your life and career out, then you should never add a move on top of that. Moving is, without a doubt, one of the most stressful things you can do. Moving while injured? Forget about it. Being expected to move, especially if they aren’t compensating you for it, is not acceptable.
- Causes Substantial Lifestyle Changes – A substantial change in lifestyle can be caused by a number of things. This includes switching from day time to night time shifts, going from a fast-paced job you love to pure tedium and paper work, working longer hours, or being expected to take a job for significantly less pay.
- Is Outside Set Physical Restrictions – If you have physical restrictions like, for example, not lifting things over 25 pounds, then being expected to take a job because the boxes are only 27 pounds is not acceptable. You were injured and if you push your recommended limits, you may have permanent effects on what should be a temporary injury. If you push what is already a permanent injury, you may lose what use you already have of the injured area.
Consider Things Carefully
While the above are all perfectly acceptable reasons to decline a new light duty job, you should consider your options carefully and make the right choice for you. If you can’t ever go back to your previous position, it may be worth taking light work duty even if you have to make a few sacrifices. However, you can always hold out for something more suiting.
If you are injured at work and are filing your worker’s compensation claim or dealing with an uncooperative employer, contact us today to see what the Law Office Joshua Borken can do for you to help get your life back to normal.