What to Do When Your Employer Wants You to Return to Work But Your Doctor Has Put Restrictions in Place
For most people, their jobs are the most important aspect of their lives, aside from friends and family. After all, jobs pay the bills and, almost as importantly, give people purpose and meaning. So when an injured employee's employer asks him or her to return to work, the worker may be tempted to do so…even if doing so goes against doctor's orders. However, returning to work against doctor's wishes may be bad for both your health and ability to recover benefits in the future.
If your employer has asked you to return to work despite the fact that the assigned doctor urges you to stay home and rest, contact our Georgia workers' compensation lawyers at Christopher Simon Attorney At Law to discuss the best course of action. We understand workers' compensation law and can advise you of the pros and cons of returning to work in your current condition.
The Dangers of Returning to Work Before You Are Physically Ready
There are countless reasons to NOT return to work against doctor's orders, despite the fact that your employer may be encouraging you to do so. For one, if you are unable to handle the physical demands of your job and re-injure yourself because you attempt to do so anyway, you may not be eligible for future workers' compensation benefits. Along the same lines, if you cannot perform your job duties, your employer may end up letting you go anyway. If that happens, you would be both out a job and out workers' compensation benefits. Moreover, considering your injured state, you may find it difficult to find a new job in your desired line of work because of your inability to fully function as normal.
When Your Employer Threatens to Fire You
It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If your employer is threatening to fire you as you heal from workers’ compensation injuries, consult with a lawyer.
If you do decide to return to work without having reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), you may be able to receive workers' compensation benefits for intermittent lost time, which is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act—a federal act that protects workers' positions for up to 12 weeks when they are forced to deal with an injury or care for a family member who is injured or ill. Under this act, your job is protected and you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. However, know that this law does not apply to everyone.
When You Should Return to Work
Ideally, the only time you should ever return to work post-injury is when you have reached MMI and have received the all-clear from your doctor (without your urging). If you must pester your doctor to convince him or her that you are 100 percent healed, you may be hurting yourself, and your career, in the long run.
If your employer is pestering YOU to return to work despite the fact that your doctor has not released you for work, it would be in your best interests to consult with a Georgia workers' compensation lawyer. A member of our firm can advise you on what you need to do to protect your rights to workers' compensation and your position. Call Christopher Simon Attorney At Law today to learn more.