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I’m Out on Workers’ Comp but My Boss is Trying to Make Me Come Back to Work

After you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, whether you were hurt on a construction site, involved in a warehouse or factory mishap or involved in an accident while driving a company car, you have a right to file for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Through the Workers’ Comp system, you are entitled to medical benefits, replacement pay (lost wages) and possibly a cash settlement depending on the extent of your long-term injuries.

However, not all employers are so quick to embrace the Workers’ Compensation system. While they enjoy the fact that employees are not permitted to sue them for any negligence that caused the accident, employers are often quick to deny Workers’ Comp claims for a variety of reasons. Additionally, many employers, urged by their insurance carriers, attempt to force workers back to the job before they are ready.

There are certain times when an employer is allowed to demand a worker return to the job. Specifically, if the Workers’ Comp doctor has signed off on your claim saying you’ve achieved “maximum medical recovery,” your boss can request you come back to work.

Here’s what they can’t require you to do if you are out on medical leave receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits:

  • Your employer cannot make you return to work, even on light duty, if you haven’t been cleared for work.
  • Your employer can’t make you perform your usual job duties, or something similar to them, if your doctor has cleared you for light duty or a shorter work week with less strenuous tasks
  • Your employer cannot fire you for filing a Worker’s Comp claim or refusing to return to work before you are cleared by a doctor to do so. Further, they cannot bring disciplinary action against you while you are out on medical leave in an effort to support a decision to fire you.
  • They can’t retaliate against you in any way in an effort to get you to quit.
  • They can’t threaten to reduce your pay or benefits when you return to work.

Being injured in a workplace accident often puts employees in uncomfortable situations with their employers. The boss, naturally, wants you at work adding to their bottom line. You, as the injured employee, know your rights and don’t want to head back to work until you are healthy enough to do so. When these viewpoints clash, the employee is often the one who cries uncle – after all, no one wants to lose their job.

If you find yourself in a situation where your employer is pressuring to return to work while you are out on a Workers’ Compensation claim, or retaliating against you in any way, contact an experienced lawyer who will fight for your rights. Even if you are back to work after you’ve been cleared to return, but feel you are being mistreated because you filed a Workers’ Comp claim, you need to consult a lawyer right away.

If you were injured on the job and need assistance with your Workers’ Compensation claim, contact the savvy personal injury lawyers at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC for a free consultation about your case. We’ll fight for you.

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