Restrictions for job duties and having to change shift?

by Carrie
(Waukesha, WI)

I recently injured my wrist at work. I am a "utility", therefore my position has many different responsibilities, or different jobs that I have to be able to do. I have been trained in five of the required seven jobs as a utility. One of the jobs is as a press operator, where the injury occurred in the first place.

At first, I had a restriction that I have to wear a brace on my wrist while I am at work, and my Dr. restricted me from doing any repetitive motions. I am anxious to get back to work doing all of my required jobs, however, at this time I do not feel comfortable going back to the part of the job where I was originally hurt.

I have a 3rd shift position. I stayed on 3rd the week of my injury, and the following week I was still on 3rd, but I was in a different department. For the next 3 weeks I was put on "one handed can sorting", on 1st shift. That was next to my name on the schedule where everyone could see it.

There have been quite a few of my co-workers who have been injured and had to can sort, however, it was never put next to their name. After I spoke to the head of my union, it was no longer next to my name.

I still remain on 1st shift. I went back to my doctor for a follow-up and that was when my restrictions changed to wearing a brace at work, and not to operate the press. I gave the restriction note to the Assistant superintendent, and asked if I could go back to 3rd and do any of the other department jobs that I was trained in.

He told me that he would have to talk to the plant manager, but didn't see a problem with me staying out of the press department. Well, he was wrong and they will not let me go back on my shift. They said it was a corporate policy. I asked to see the proof of that and was essentially denied.

I am working full time, and going to college, and I have a class that I scheduled according to my 3rd shift position. They will not let me go back to my shift.

Anything that I try to come up with to change their mind has been unsuccessful. I have even tried to compromise and use half day vacation days on Mondays so I do not incur points, that could ultimately lead to me getting written up for my attendance. I have never had an issue with attendance nor have I ever been written up for any reason.

Does my employer have the right to not show me the corporate policy? Do they have the right to not let me have my bid shift? I even argued that there are video cameras, and they had the option to monitor me that way.

The plant manager told me to just leave early those days and just accumulate points. I was very upset and he said there was nothing he could do. Do I have any options? Thanks.

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 "Restrictions for job duties and having to change shift?":

Carrie (Waukesha, WI):

Thoroughly review your company's employee manual. If you don't have access to one, find a co-worker or supervisor who does.

The company is bound by the stipulations, rules, and regulations they have written into the employee manual. If an employee manual does not exist, or was never issued by the company, then you may still have rights under the company's policy outlines you referred to.

It is difficult to understand why your company won't allow you access to the information contained in the corporate policy. Try going online to find the policy.

Unfortunately, absent your company's written stipulations, rules, regulations, and even appellate practices, you don't have a viable claim.

The only way your company would be forced to turn over their written policy, is if that policy was subpoenaed after a lawsuit had been filed. It is unlikely you will file a lawsuit on your own, and just as unlikely you will find an attorney who will agree to represent you on a contingency fee basis.

A contingency fee basis means an attorney isn't paid until, and unless he or she succeeds in the case. When they do, the attorney is usually entitled to about one third of the settlement amount or court award after trial.

From the facts you present, the only way you will find an attorney to accept your case is on an hourly fee basis. That could be very costly, especially for a college student who is working and going to school at the same time.

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 Returning to 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:

TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION