Do I have a case if I hurt my back at home and my doctor tells me no heavy lifting and my work make me do all the heavy lifting

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Do I have a case if I hurt my back at home and my doctor tells me no heavy lifting and my work make me do all the heavy lifting

Do I have a case if I hurt my back at
home and my doctor tells me no heavy
lifting and my work make me do all the
heavy lifting

Asked on November 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends on what your job is: if you job is one that by its nature involves heavy lifting (e.g. contracting, shipping, warehousing, moving files around, stocking inventory in a store or receiving shipments, etc.) then you must be able to do it: if you can't or won't, the employer can terminate or suspend you, because the employer is not required to keep an employee who simply cannot do his or her job. (Or you could potentially take time off to heal using FMLA for unpaid leave, if your employer is covered [at least 50 employees] and you are eligible [worked there at least a year; worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months], or use PTO, if you have it, for time off.)
If lifting is not actually part of your job but is incidental--e.g. your employer wants you, an adminstrative or customer service person, to lift water cooler bottles for him--then the employer most likely needs to accommodate you by honoring the restriction: the employer can't *add* to your job or have to you do things not part of your job if they harm your medical condition or violate medical restrictions. Not having you do unnecessary lifting would be a reasonable accommodation, which employers must make to disabilities. If the employer is trying to force you to do unnecessary (for your job) lifting, contact the federal EEOC and see if you have a valid claim for disability-related discrimination or harassment. (Even non-permanent injuries can count as temporary disability and be protected.)


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