Human Resource Blog

Where HR Professionals Seek Answers

A Practical Source For Your Daily HR Needs.Lets Build An HR Blog Community Together! Want To Share Your HR Knowledge Or Gain Knowledge Through Other Professionals?Lets Discuss HR!


Working with injury

Employee had been in a car accident, went to ER and come to work with complaint that back was sore from the accident. Works as caretaker lifting patient >160 unable to assist in move from bed to wheelchair to commode. Sent employee home..felt unable to perform duty did I have the right to do this.

Yes, you had the right to do this. The only mistake you made was letting the employee work in the first place.

First of all, you did not *feel* that the employee was unable to perform his or her duty. The employee either told you or demonstrated that they were unable to assist in lifting a patient weighing more than 160 lbs. If you sent an employee home due to your feelings, that would be completely illegal. However, sending the employee home due to his or her refusal (or physical inability) to perform the job is legitimate.

To back up for a second, if you were aware that the employee had been in an auto accident and treated in the ER, you should have required a doctors release before putting the employee to work.  This is true, even though the accident was not work-related.

Anytime the employer has reason to believe that an employee is not fit for duty, the employer can and should require a release from a doctor stating that the employee can complete all his or her usual job duties, before allowing the employee back to work. In your case, you need a release stating the employee can assist in moving a patient weighing more than 160 lbs. If you fail to require a fitness-for-duty release, and the employee is reinjured or his condition complicated by work activities, then this becomes a very expensive workers comp case. This is true, even though the original accident was not work related.

Even if an employee merely mentions that his or her back is sore, you should probably require a doctors fitness-for-duty release because this job is so physically demanding. This is for the employees protection, as well as the employers.

Tags: , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 26th, 2010 at 1:00 pm and is filed under
Workplace Health & Safety.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

  • [ Back ]
  • WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

Home Ask a Question Archives

© 2008, All Rights Reserved