A work injury can cause a serious disruption to your life. You may be forced to miss considerable time for care, treatment, and recovery. You may hit a point where you are ready to return to work, but you cannot perform all of the physically intensive tasks that you used to be able to do. In California, an injured worker may be entitled to “light duty” while recovering from an injury.
Employers have a legal obligation to follow a worker’s light duty limitations. This raises an important question: What can you do if an employer is violating light duty work restrictions? The answer depends on the specific circumstances. Here, our Fresno, CA workers’ comp attorney explains the steps to take if your employer is violating your light-duty work restrictions.
Step #1: Know Your Rights—Your Health Comes First
As a starting point, it is useful to consider that background and history of light duty work. Broadly defined, light duty work is simply adjustment to an employee’s job responsibilities that enables them to work in a safe manner. As explained by the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), an employee recovering from a job-related injury is “not required to accept an assignment that does not meet the restrictions.”Your health and well-being come first. You are fully within your rights to refuse to do any job task that violates your light duty restrictions.
Step #2: Notify Your Employer and Document the Violations
With light duty work violations, the best course of action always depends on the specific circumstances of the case. If you believe that your employer/supervisor assigned you overly intensive work in error, you should take the time to show them your doctor’s recommendations. Make sure that your employer knows that the work in question violates your light duty restrictions.
If the issue is not immediately addressed—or if you believe that your employer is knowingly or recklessly violating your light duty work restrictions—notify them of the violation in writing and take the time to proactively document the violation. Remember, you are not required to do work that violates your valid light duty restrictions.
If an employer takes adverse action against you for refusing to do a job assignment that violates your light duty limitations, you may have a legal claim for compensatory damages. Adverse actions include demotion, loss of pay/benefits, suspension, termination, or general harassment. Consult with an experienced Fresno workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will help you take the necessary steps to get justice.
Call Our Fresno Workers’ Comp Lawyer for Legal Guidance and SupportJoseph C. Yrulegui is an experienced, results-driven workers’ compensation attorney. If you have any questions or concerns about light-duty restrictions and work injuries, we can help. Contact us now to set up a fully private review of your case. We handle workers’ comp claims throughout Fresno County, including in Fresno, Clovis, Selma, Kingsburg, Kerman, Coalinga, and Mendota.