Can I refuse to lift heavy boxes at work if it's not in my job description?

by Bonnie
(Los Angeles, CA)

I am employed as a clerical person that works for the State of California. My supervisor wants me to lift heavy boxes and says it is in my job description. I looked up my job description and it does not say anything about lifting heavy boxes. I am also 60 years old.

Do I have the right to let her know that I do not have to lift heavy boxes? Am I protected from getting fired if I refuse to do it and it's not in my job description? Thanks for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Can I refuse to lift heavy boxes at work if it's not in my job description?":

Bonnie (Los Angeles, CA):

You may not have to worry about being fired. Print out the copy of your job description and present it to your supervisor.

If that doesn’t convince her to change her mind and she attempts to terminate your employment, you have the right to immediately appeal to the State of California’s Personnel Board. The Board exists to support employees who are facing termination from employment.

Go to This is the State of California Personnel Board’s web site. The site has a lot of useful information and includes info about the appellate process, forms, the Board’s rules and regulations, and policy.

Moreover, if you are facing termination, you will be able to take advantage of the California State Personnel Board’s arbitration procedure. Doing so will avoid a lengthy appellate process.

Here’s the Board's contact information:

State Personnel Board
Appeals Division
801 Capitol Mall, MS #22
Sacramento, CA 95814

State Personnel Board General Information Sacramento
(916) 653-0799

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,

Judge Calisi

P.S. Please help us out by sharing this site...

Click here to post comments

Return to Lifting Injuries at Work Questions

How Much Is Your Claim Worth?

Find out now with a FREE case review from an attorney...

How Much Are Your
Injuries Worth?

Find out with a
free attorney review: