Is a company negligent if it increasesan employee’sworkload afterthey come backfollowingan injury?

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Is a company negligent if it increasesan employee’sworkload afterthey come backfollowingan injury?

I was injured at work (construction) and underwent treatment (physical therapy, etc) while working with restricted duties. I then returned to full duty work. About 2 weeks after, my company changed my position and increased my workload (i.e. the amount I was lifting daily) due to a workforce reduction. This resulted in a severe injury to my back about a week after the increased work. Can the company be held liable for any type of negligence since the return to work full duty was based on what I did prior to my injury, or does it not matter?

Asked on March 18, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Well of course your health matters.  How your doctor's note is written also matters.  But if you were given full clearance to work then there may not be any negligence on the part of your employer here.  But the key issue really is that you can not sue your employer based upon that theory of law.  You can only collect workers compensation for injuries that are related to your employment.  The law was created to protect the "greater" issue of employment: providing jobs and protecting employers from being sued and going bankrupt trying to protect themselves from liability.  Some states did have a "gross negligence" exception but many have phased that out.  Compensation also protects employees by making sure that they have a way to be treated if they are injured on the job.  Speak with a comp attorney.  Good luck. 


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