What is an employers duty to provide light duty for an employee who is under medical restriction?

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What is an employers duty to provide light duty for an employee who is under medical restriction?

I got hurt while not at work I know have light duty restrictions preventing me from doing some of my job. There is other work available that fits my restrictions. Can I still be laid off from work?

Asked on February 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You most likely can be laid off.

1) First, if the injury does not constitute a "disability"--and many injuries do not--the employer is under no obligation to accomodate it.

2) Second, even if it is a disability, the employer must only provide "reasonable" accomodations, which are accomodations which are not too costly or disruptive; the employer does not need to provide you a new job, other than the one you were hired for. Therefore, if due to the restrictions, you cannot do significant portions of your job, that would likely be considered too disruptive or costly (to keep paying/employment someone who can't do the job), and hence not a reasonable accomodation. The employer would therefore be allowed to terminate you.

The above does not mean that the employer can't voluntarily shift you to a different job or accomodate you--just that there is a good chance they are not legally required to.

Note however that the above is based on general principals. However, the facts of a situation are critical. For a definitive answer, you need to consult with an employment law attorney about the specifics of  your situation.

 


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