Gross Negligence?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Gross Negligence?

I work for a very large state university in florida and am employed to work in a science lab. I have a pre-existing injury in my spinemultiple herniated disks and I am X disabled and I am being asked to move heavy objects in excess 150 lbs. I have told my department head about my injury via email for evidence and have protested lifting heavy items citing the risk of further injury. I am still being asked to move heavy items and have been told this will not be the last time. Does this constitute gross negligence if i were to get hurt moving heavy items at work?

Asked on December 7, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends what job you were hired for. If moving items is core or central to the job and you cannot do this job without moving heavy items, they do not need to accommodate you: a "reasonable accommodation" under the law is one which lets the employee still do the job he or she was hired to do. (There are simply some jobs you should not have if you have certain conditions or disabilities.) On the other hand, if moving heavy items is peripheral to the job and you can do the core elements of the job without moving these things, then they should make a reasonable accommodation and let you do your job without moving these items (and/or provide equipment to let you move them safely). If the won't, this may constitute illegal disability-based discrimination, and you may have a claim for compensation: if you think this is the case, contact the federal EEOC about filing a complaint.
If you do move heavy objects knowing you shouldn't, your employer is NOT liable: you chose to listen to them and move something you know you shouldn't. That is your negligence, not theirs. Your recourse, if you feel they are discriminating against you by requiring you to move these things, is to refuse and file a complaint; or if it's simply not a job that you can do safely, your recourse is to seek other employment. You can't blame the employer if you go ahead and do somethign you should not.

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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