Can my employer offer light duty to whom they please and deny me?.

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Can my employer offer light duty to whom they please and deny me?.

Before I went out on FMLA. There was an employee in my department on light duty. I tried to return to work on light duty and was denied. First and second week that I returned to work on full duty. They had placed 2 more people on light duty. I feel I am being discriminated against.

Asked on November 8, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, they are allowed to only offer light duty to certain people, not others, based on their staffing, business, etc. needs. If you are disabled (after your FMLA return), they do have to make a "reasonable accommodation"--but required reasonable accommodations do not necessarily involve having to give you light duty, since a "reasonable accommodation" is one that lets you do the job you are supposed to do. If your job was not a light duty job, it is not "reasonable" to have to give you essentially a different job or different duties, so you can have light duty--the employer is entitled to have you do *your* job.
So light duty is often not required, if yours was not a job/duties you can do on light duty. But even if it's not required, the employer is *allowed* to voluntarily give light duty to certain employees, if it meets their needs. But being voluntary, they can decide who and when to give light duty to.


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