When you get hurt on the job, workers’ compensation helps by covering your medical costs. You can also claim disability benefits if you will miss multiple days of work during your recovery. The greater the impact of your injury on your job performance and the more serious your pain is, the longer you may need to recover.
Sometimes, employers expect their workers to get back on the job right away, even if that person still has pain or has not fully recovered from their injuries. How do you handle a situation where your employer wants you back at work while you don’t feel capable?
Pennsylvania employers should support workers returning to the job
Workers’ compensation claimants have several layers of protection when it is time to return to work. The documented work injury they already have will likely mean that they have the right to request reasonable accommodations when it comes time to return to work.
Different job responsibilities, the right to take breaks or even technological devices could make an otherwise painful or prohibitive job possible for someone still recovering from an injury. Your employer should also defer to the recommendations of the doctor overseeing your care.
If there is a disagreement between your employer and your physician, then you may need to submit a request to your employer in writing that they accommodate you based on your doctor’s recommendations.
What if it isn’t safe for you to return to work?
If your employer cannot offer you accommodations or if your doctor believes that returning to work would exacerbate your injury or prevent a full recovery, your employer should allow you to remain on disability leave until your condition improves enough for you to safely return to work.
If your employer tries to fire you or deny you benefits when you follow medical recommendations instead of their demands that you come back to work, their actions might constitute retaliation. Retaliation is illegal, but you will have to actively fight it to prevent your employer from punishing you over your injuries.
Understanding your rights as an injured worker who needs workers’ compensation can help you protect your health and your employment after an injury on the job.