Does My Employer Have to Respect My Work Restrictions After A Work-Related Injury?


Posted by: Chris

Every injury is unique. Some injuries may not interfere with your daily life at all, whereas others may prevent you from engaging in certain activities. If you have been injured at work, it’s important to understand your work restrictions so you know what you can and cannot do while you recover. But does your employer have to respect these restrictions? Here’s what you need to know:

What Are Work Restrictions?

A work restriction is a limit on the amount and type of work you should perform after a work-related injury. Some examples of work restrictions may include:

  • Do not lift more than 15 lbs.
  • Do not stand for more than 1 hour. 
  • Do not reach overhead.
  • Do not use your right hand to perform repetitive movements.

It is not up to you to determine your work restrictions. Your physician will determine what restrictions you have after evaluating your condition.

How Will Work Restrictions Affect Your Job?

You may not be able to perform your job duties as a result of your work restrictions. For instance, say your job requires you to repeatedly lift heavy boxes that weigh more than 15 lbs. If your doctor tells you not to lift more than 15 lbs. while you recover from your work-related injury, you can no longer perform your job duties. 

Your employer may offer you alternative work while you recover. If they do, they must take your work restrictions into account when offering you this alternative work. Using the same example from above, this means they cannot offer you another job where you are required to repeatedly lift 15 lbs. or more if you are restricted from heavy lifting. However, they could offer you alternative work that does not involve heavy lifting as long as you are qualified to perform the duties of the position. To put it simply, the alternative work that is offered must be something that you are capable of doing despite your work-related injuries.

Do You Have to Perform the Alternative Work Offered By Your Employer?

If you are offered alternative work, you must agree to perform it as long as it does not go against your work restrictions. If you refuse, this could affect your ability to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for your work-related injuries. 

Have you been injured at work? Don’t hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. Let our team stand by your side throughout the workers’ compensation claim process to ensure you are fully compensated for your work-related injuries. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.