Can an employer stop accomodating a worker's lifting restrictions?
I sustained a worker's comp injury (fracture) five years ago. As a result, a 25 pound restriction on lifting, pushing and pulling was made. My job description notes a 50 pound requirement. I never missed any work from this injury, despite pain and inability to lift, push or pull more than 25 pounds. My employer always accommodated me.
Last week, the new Human Resources Director advised me that all Workers Comp injuries were being reviewed and I could no longer stay in my position. An attempt would be made to transfer me to another position.
It is not even every day that I have a requirement to lift, push or pull 50 pounds in my current position. I have had very satisfactory job performance evaluations since the fracture occurred. I am the oldest employee in my department and getting close to retirement.
If I am offered another position that does not pay my current salary, can I draw unemployment? Can my employer stop providing accommodations for my restrictions after five years? Should I "go with the flow," or challenge the decision to remove me from my current position? Is there anything I can do here? Thanks for any perspective you can give.
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ANSWER for "Can an employer stop accommodating a worker's lifting restrictions?":
Unfortunately, the difference in pay between your present position and the new position being offered to you is not sufficient for unemployment benefits. Instead of voluntarily resigning from your job, you might consider speaking with your supervisor and asking that you be terminated from your employment.
While that's a stretch, keep in mind you have been a dutiful employee for a number of years. If your employer terminates your employment, you will then be entitled to unemployment benefits.
Your next option is to plead with your employer to transfer you to the new position while maintaining your current salary. One again, because of your excellent service to the company for a substantial period of years, your service record should be in your favor.
Your final option is to "go with the flow" as you put it. If you are that close to retirement, you must already be vested, with benefits attached to the salary you've been receiving over the years you've been with the company.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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