Work responsibilities doubled while on workers' comp?

by Diana
(Coatesville, PA)

I was walking past the kitchen at work and they had the food tray bins (the big silver bins that hold the food trays for delivery to the patients) in the hallway. They had just washed them down and put up the signs "wet floor", but they didn't keep up with the mopping, so water was constantly dripping from them.

As I was walking I took my time, but some how the back of my foot slipped on some water coming from under the food bins. I slipped and fell, hit my head and shoulder on the tray bins, and put my hand out to stop my fall. I ended up on the floor.

I reported it immediately, and my manager told me to go see a doctor and a report was written. I'm currently on workers' comp and working in medical records, which is a lot of filing, reaching high to file. The new owners took over and they gave me more work purchasing medical supplies. I have to order the medical supplies, unpack them, and stock the shelves.

I reminded them that I am on workers' comp and cannot lift over 10 lbs. I went back to the orthopedic doctor due to a lump in my arm and constant spasms. The doctor has ordered me to wear a sling and to avoid using the arm.

I'm afraid these new owners will try to get rid of me. I am doing medical records and central supply, both jobs now. I had to take a sick day off to go to the orthopedist, and my manager told me I had to unpack all the deliveries and stock the shelves (mind you, they laid-off the previous person who did this job).

I did the work but was in much pain afterwards. My doctor is not happy with them giving me more physical duties. They did have someone lift the boxes over 10 lbs. for me. Is there anything I can do about this? Is it okay for my manager to continue giving me this kind of work while I'm on workers' comp? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Work responsibilities doubled while on workers' comp?":

Diana (Coatsville, PA):

It certainly isn't fair, but is certainly legal for your employers to assign you to alternate work duties, especially as you now don't have to lift any material weighing over 10 pounds.

Speak with your employers and tell them you believe the work duties you have been assigned to complete are not realistic, and may lead to an unnecessary exacerbation of your injury.

Unless you are working under a written contract of employment, or you have an employee appellate hearing process, including a union representative to intercede on your behalf, your options are limited. If your employer won't cooperate and assign you new and reasonable work duties, it's likely your alternative is to resign.

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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