Returning to work following a disabling injury can be daunting. Certain physical, emotional and psychological challenges could be difficult to deal with. The thought of readjusting to the work setting again while coping with any leftover symptoms or physical limits can feel too much. Also, worries about injuring yourself again or not being able to do your job as well as before the injury can add to the stress. So, it’s important to understand your rights in terms of accommodations in such a transition. These provisions are outlined under California’s workers’ compensation system.
Accommodations for working with restrictions
If your primary treating physician clears you for work but with certain restrictions, your employer must accommodate these. Adjustments could include:
- Modifying your tasks
- Reducing your time on certain activities
- Providing special equipment
If you believe your employer isn’t respecting these restrictions, you must voice your concerns and document them in writing. More importantly, you can refuse assignments that don’t meet your medical restrictions.
Returning to work without restrictions
Once your physician clears you to return to work without restrictions, your employer typically must offer your previous job and pay. However, if you still feel unwell or unfit, don’t force yourself back into the role. It’s crucial to communicate these challenges to your medical professional promptly.
Your right to accessibility
Going back to work may bring about certain anxieties. However, contrary to common belief, accommodations for disabled employees are typically not demanding or costly. Often, simple changes in the work environment or schedule enable an employee to perform effectively and safely. So, not only should employers be open to accommodating you, but you should also feel empowered to request the necessary adjustments. Remember, these accommodations are not a privilege but a right. They serve to create a fair and accessible workplace for you to work without any difficulties.