Key facts about work restrictions under workers’ compensation

Californians who have been hurt and are unable to work have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover for their medical care, provide them with wages and help them concentrate on their recovery. It is important to remember that not every case is clear-cut and there are disagreements about certain issues. That often stems from the worker being able to do some type of work, albeit with restrictions. If there is a disparity regarding work restrictions between the worker, the treating physician and the employer, it is wise to have legal protection.

A physician’s report and how it impacts working with restrictions

If a physician determines that the injured worker can work, it will then be split into two categories: working with restrictions or without restrictions. When the worker can work with restrictions, the physician will state what those restrictions are and the employer is expected to adhere to those limitations. If, for example, the worker needs equipment to help with completing a task or cannot lift a box that exceeds a certain weight, the worker must be accommodated. In situations where no work within the restrictions is available, the person cannot be forced to work. When there are no restrictions, the employer is generally required to return the worker to the former job at the same salary as before. The employer has the right to require that the employee take the job.

Complications can arise if the employer assigns tasks that the employee believes are in violation of the restrictions. The worker should present the employer with the information about the work restrictions. The worker cannot be forced to perform assignments that go beyond those restrictions. The employer is not allowed to threaten action against the employer for exercising the right not to do that work. Doing so could be considered discrimination. When there is no suitable work available, the employee is entitled to receive temporary total disability through workers’ compensation.

For help with workers’ compensation disputes, legal advice can be essential

For workers who are unable to do the same job they did before but are able to do some form of restricted work, it is important that the employer be made aware of these limitations. Common problems that arise include whether there is work within those confines available or there is a dispute between the employer and employee as to what constitutes adherence to the work restrictions. For injured workers who are concerned about this, how it impacts their workers’ compensation benefits and possible future employment, it is wise to have help from an experienced legal professional.