Return to Work with limitations

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Posted by Del on June 20, 1999 at 11:47:25:

Q. An employee was injured on the job, and filed for Workers' Compensation. He's been under treatment for several months, and has now elected to have surgery related to the injury. What is our responsibility if, when he returns to work, he cannot physically do the job he was hired to do?

A. Workers' Comp statutes vary from state to state regarding whether or not you must restore employees to their original jobs upon their return from WC leave. Some WC laws require that the employee be reinstated to a part-time or light-duty job until he/she can resume working in his/her old position. So it's best to check with your state's particular WC law.

However, the WC law is not your only concern. If this employee's injury qualifies as a disability or serious health condition, you may also have to contend with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

According to the ADA, you have a responsibility to accommodate an employee with a disability who is returning from leave if an accommodation is available which would enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. Reassignment to another position may be considered an accommodation if the employee with a disability can no longer perform the essential functions of his/her original job.

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