Visitor Question

Cleared by doctor for light duty, but employer won’t let me work?

Submitted By: Michele (Maine)

I had surgery in June 2014 on my right shoulder, and was told in September 2014 by my Dr. I could return to work with light duty. My place of work said they did not have any work for me that was light duty. I returned to the Dr. the following month and was still only cleared by Dr. for light duty. My place of work did not want me back until I could only return full time.

I am now expecting to see my Dr. on December 16, 2014. I am very nervous, because I have not worked for 5 months, and it is so hard to reach full time status with the field I am in. I was once a supervisor for housekeeping. Have been at that job for 12 years, and always did a lot of physical work, sometimes making 40 to 50 beds, and folding thousands of laundry items in an 8 hour day.

I can’t get back to that type of physical work as full status if I’m home. I felt like being at work would ease me into the transition from part time, back to full. I feel the new manager of 1 year is trying to get me out of the company and my General Manager really is backing her up and not me.

I don’t even feel ready to go back to work full time. I am doing well with physical therapy. In fact, I’m down to one day a week or skipping 1 week. I do what I’m expected of for my exercises, and am trying to build my self back up for work.

How do I get back to making 40-50 beds a day? Do I remake my own personal bed at home that many times? Why is the actual workers’ compensation ok with this decision? They are the ones who are paying for me to be out of work so long. Is there any way I can convince my work to let me back on light duty? Thank you.

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 Michele,

Unfortunately, you are bound by the decision of the workers’ comp insurance company and your employer. If your physician won’t clear you to return to work full time via a transition period, your options are to either leave the company and find full time work elsewhere, or stay with your employer and wait until you are cleared to return to work full time.

Moreover, you believe you are not ready to return to work full time. (“I don’t even feel ready to go back to work full time.”) Instead, you want your employer to accept you back and assist you with a transition back to full time.

There may be another way to convince your employer to take you back and assist you with a transition period. Ask the workers’ comp insurance company to permit you to see another physician. Hopefully you can convince the physician to write a narrative stating you would best serve your employer returning to work full time in a transition mode.

Learn more here: Returning to Work After Injury

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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