If due to an injury I can no longer perform my job, mustI take another job that is offered outside my field?

I was injured outside of work and have exhausted my FMLA time. I want to file for long-term disability. Doctor certifies that I cannot currently work do my job due to physical limitations. I have worked in this field (although not exclusively for this company) for more than 30 years. The company is a large one with other jobs unrelated to my area of expertise. They are preparing an offer of a different job, outside my field. Do I have to take this job? I would like to file for Long Term Disability, but I am also of retirement age and do not want to jeopardize my retirement benefits from my employer. What do you advise?

Asked on July 25, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Every case is different, and the individual facts are critical. For a dispositive answer, please consult with an employment lawyer. That said, as a general rule, there is no right to keep working in the same field. If the alternate job is at much lower rate of pay, it might not be considered an adequate substitute. However, if you will be paid fairly comparable to what you had been being paid, then I cannot imagine that you could decline the offer and be able to receive disability (or, for that matter, other benefits, such as unemployment compensation). Again, for advice taking into account your unique situation, consult with an employment lawyer, but if the job you're being offered is a good one, I suspect you would need tot take it.

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