Visitor Question

Preventing an employee from returning to work after injury away from job?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Richmond, Virginia)

I have an employee that injured themselves away from work, causing severe bruising and a minor fracture. The doctor has cleared them for work with the stipulation of: no highway driving, no arm use for lifting purposes.

We operate an adult care house that may require lifting if the client falls or needs help getting out of bed, and the employee has to drive to get to the establishment. For the safety of our clients, we would like for the employee to wait to return to work when they are completely cleared by the doctor.

What do we do as an employer? Thank you for any information you can provide.

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 Anonymous,

Refer to the employee’s treating physician’s Physical Demands Form. The form will indicate quite clearly the restrictions your employee is subject to. This includes whether the treating physician is releasing your employee to return to work, and the type of restrictions, if any, your employee may be subject to.

At the bottom of the form will be the treating physician’s determinations and the reasons for them.

Some of the important language may resemble the following:

  • “I release to this position as described above.”
  • ” I release to this position as described above with the following
    restrictions:
  • “I am unable to release to this position as described above.”
  • “The medical rationale for this is:”
  • “Next appointment is scheduled for:
  • Physician’s Signature: Date: “

You can review the entirety of the Virginia Physical Demands Form here.

You can also contact the treating physician directly and discuss his or her findings as they relate to your employee. You will need to get a Release of Information from the employee if the physician is not treating the employee through the workers’ compensation system.

Otherwise, it’s up to you to allow the employee back to work or not. If the job requires the employee to perform tasks s/he is restricted from doing, it’s reasonable for you to not allow the employee back to work until s/he fully recovers.

Learn more here: Returning to Work After an 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) 647-2490.

Best of luck with your claim,

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