Can my employer make come back to work when doctor has not released me yet?

UPDATED: Jan 16, 2015

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Can my employer make come back to work when doctor has not released me yet?

I was given a weight limit of 20 lbs.

Asked on January 16, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your doctor is not an officer, executive, manager, etc. of your employer: he has no authority over your employer. Your employer can require you to return to work even if your doctor has not released you. Note that you, as an adult, still have to make the right decision for yourself: that is, if you choose to do work that exacerbates an injury, then you are liable for your injury, costs, etc. yourself, even if you did so under the threat of losing your job if you didn't work--you need to make the decision for yourself about whether your health or your job is more important and live with the consequence.

You can seek a "reasonable accommodation" for a disability, whether short or long term, from you employer; that is, you can ask them to modify your duties or how you do your job to accommodate an injury or restriction, such as by giving you light duty. However, a "reasonable accommodation" is one that is not too costly or disruptive to the employer, so they only have to do this if there is some useful light duty, etc. work that you could do for them in accordance with your overall job description or responsibilities. They are not required to transfer you to a different job, make up a new job for you, pay you for not bein able to work, etc. So if there is no reasonable accomodation that the employer can make for you within the confines of their need and your request, they are not required to make one. If they can't accommodate you and you can't do the job for which you are hired, they could fire you (or suspend you, or anything short of firing).

Other options: if you have sick, personal, vacation, etc. days, you could use them while you are recovering. You also may be eligible to take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, but must comply with the requirements of that act, including proper notice to your employer; you can "Google" "FMLA" to get informatinon about the Act.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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