Initial doctor visit off the clock?

by Anonymous
(South Carolina)

I work in South Carolina at a distribution center. I was filling an order and had to slide a rather heavy box forward on the shelf that was holding it. While sliding the box, my hand slipped off the box and my wrist struck the front of the shelf causing a sprain in my wrist.

I reported my injury within a few minutes after it became apparent that I was in too much pain to continue to fill orders.

I was told by one supervisor that I would be allowed to pack orders into boxes instead since that is a lighter job. After an hour or so, another supervisor came up to me and asked me to fill an order. I told him that my wrist was hurt and I did not feel comfortable doing that.

He said that pulling a cart and using a tape gun was about the same and made me order fill anyway.

After I painfully completed filling the order I approached the supervisor who told me to pack orders and let him know what happened. He told me to go to the company doctor but made me clock out. The next day I was told that I could use my paid time off to cover the lost hours from going to the doctor, but I feel that they should pay me for the time I was at the doctor anyway.

If an employee is hurt on the job, should the initial doctor's visit be on paid time? What are the rules for the company paying for the time an injured employee visits the doctor? Are they required to use their vacation or sick time? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Initial doctor visit off the clock?":

Anonymous (South Carolina):

Each employer in the State of South Carolina has a right to conduct his or her business in the manner in which they believe appropriate. This does not include violating worker rights enumerated under workers compensation rules and regulations. From the facts you presents there doesn't seem to be any evidence of workers comp rules or regulation violations.

Unless you have a written contract of employment, your employer can pretty much dictate whether or not you have to use paid time off to cover the doctor's visit. But there is an exception...

If your company has a written worker manual and in the manual it states you have the right to see a doctor without having to use paid days off or sick days, then you have a legitimate platform to change your supervisor's decision. If you have a worker, or employee guideline or manual, read it closely, especially any parts which discuss worker rights after an on-the-job injury.

You claim would be strengthened if you have evidence of your injury. For example, an x-ray showing a fracture, or an MRI showing a torn ligament or muscle. Even a letter from the treating physician conforming your injury would help.

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

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