Visitor Question

After injury, can I be made to just sit in a room all day?

Submitted By: StillSitting (Detroit, Michigan)

I was injured on the job (7 weeks ago), reported it, and went to the company’s dr. I was put on restrictions that do not allow me to do the job I was doing. I continue to go to all my dr follow-up appointments & the ordered physical therapy, so I am improving/healing from my injury.

The company said they would find a job for me to do that was within my restrictions. They sat me in the computer lab for my 12-hour shift to watch training videos. That lasted 2 weeks. I stretched it out a bit because for the last 5 weeks I’ve had nothing to do but sit here.

Is this “Ok” or following the laws?

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 StillSitting,

We’d need more facts concerning your case to determine whether your employer is complying with Michigan’s workers’ comp laws. However, keep in mind that employers only have to reasonably accommodate workers when placed on work restrictions.

When Workers Return to Work on Work Restrictions

Employers bear certain responsibilities when one of their employees suffers a workplace injury. If your physician places you on work restrictions, your employer is responsible for complying with those restrictions.

In particular, your employer must reasonably accommodate you and provide you with a restricted role, if a job is available that complies with your medical restrictions. If your employer violates the terms of your restriction, it is liable for any further injuries you may suffer because of the violations.

Here, your question basically boils down to whether your employer is making “reasonable accommodations” so as to comply with your work restrictions.

We’d need some additional facts to say for certain whether or not your employer is acting reasonably.

To determine the appropriateness of your work restriction, we’d need to know:

  • What your job duties were before your injury
  • What your work injury is
  • What your work restrictions are
  • Whether your employer has other work tasks, that fall within your restrictions, to provide you with

It seems that your employer asking you to watch training videos was an attempt to make reasonable accommodations.

But now, if you are truly sitting in a room and doing nothing, then perhaps your employer is acting unreasonably.

Remedies if Your Employer is Acting Unreasonably

We recommend that you speak with your manager or supervisor to see if your employer can give you something else to do rather than just sitting idle at work.

If there are other duties, and they fall within your restrictions, then your problem is solved.

If your employer can’t provide you with other tasks, then it may allow you to miss time from work. In this case, you’ll receive lost wages as part of your workers’ comp benefits.

But, keep in mind that your employer can also terminate your employment. Under Michigan’s workers’ compensation laws, an employer is not obligated to hold an employee’s job if they are hurt during work. Further, they can fire a worker if they can’t offer work duties that comply with a doctor’s restrictions.

Here’s a summary of your rights and responsibilities under Michigan’s workers’ compensation laws.

As stated above, we recommend you speak with a manager to see if you can get assigned different work duties. But we also suggest you not push the issue too far if you want to ensure you keep your job.

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,

Published:

Leave a Comment

Don’t ask a personal injury question here – comments are not reviewed by an attorney. Ask your question on this page. Required fields are marked *