Visitor Question

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

Submitted 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.

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.


Dear Bonnie,

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

Learn more here: Back Injuries at Work

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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