Visitor Question

Can my employer change my shift to accommodate work restrictions?

Submitted By: A (Missouri)

I live and work in Missouri. I injured my lower back while unloading a truck at work. The doctor put me on restrictions that say no twisting or bending, not to lift, push, or pull over 10 lbs, and that I am to be sitting mostly. The doctor also put me on pain meds that make me sleepy and I am not allowed to drive after taking them.

My question is, can my employer change my shift (meaning the time of day I work) to accommodate the restrictions I am on? Is my employer required by law to follow the restrictions set by my doctor?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear A,

Under the State of Missouri’s workers’ compensation statutes, your employer has a right to change your shift to accommodate his or her business. In fact, if your employer decides there aren’t any available jobs which meet your medical requirements, you can be laid off; that is, as long as your employer’s actions aren’t punitive and directly related to your having filed a workers’ comp claim.

Whether your employer follows your doctor’s orders is more of an issue between your employer and the workers’ comp insurance company. If you believe your employer is violating the doctor’s orders, contact the adjuster handling your claim. The last thing an adjuster wants is for your injury to be exacerbated and your claim prolonged because your employer placed you at a job which jeopardizes your recovery.

You can also ask the insurance adjuster to permit you to seek another medical opinion. You have that right. If a second doctor places the same restrictions on you, it will be very hard for your employer to ignore those medically required restrictions.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 6, 2014

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