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Medical Release with restrictions

If an employee is released to come back to work but say the restriction is can not stand for more than 4 hrs. Is it up to the employer or employee to monitor this restriction?

To give a definitive answer, we would need to have a bit more information, such as the type of leave the employee returned from (Workers’ Compensation, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), personal illness, etc.), whether or not the employee falls under Americans with Disabilities (ADA) protection, & the state you are in.

For example, if this is a workers’ comp case, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) instructs employers to make sure employees comply with restrictions. This is important because if the employee aggravates the initial injury or illness by noncompliance with the restrictions, the employer will be responsible for any resulting medical treatment and temporary or permanent disability. On the other hand, in an ADA or other non-work-related situation, presumably the employee initiated the accommodation request, and thus he or she may bear more responsibility for adhering to the restrictions.

If you have policies in place that allow workers who have non-work-related illnesses or injuries to work with restrictions, keep in mind that if an exposure or event in the workplace aggravates an existing condition, the resulting injury or illness will be considered work-related and thus will fall under workers’ compensation regulations. Therefore, it would behoove you as the employer to ensure the employee complies with the restrictions.

However, this is not to say you cannot put the onus back on the employee by imposing discipline for failure to comply with approved medical restrictions. If the employee does not feel the restrictions are necessary, it is up to him or her to obtain a full release from the physician.


This entry was posted on Monday, March 26th, 2012 at 5:28 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management, Workplace Health & Safety.
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