What to do if a co-worker has returned to work on light duty but there is no light duty where I work?

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What to do if a co-worker has returned to work on light duty but there is no light duty where I work?

I have worked in a Teamsters Union company truck shop for a long time. It is clearly written in the company handbook that there is no light duty and that injured employees must obtain a medical release stating that they are 100% before being allowed to return to work. No employee has ever returned to work on light duty; there is no light duty. A week ago, my company union steward left work early because of a back injury. The next day, he returned to work (clearly injured and in pain) claiming to be on “light duty” due to his back injury. Management has not confirmed or denied his alleged work restrictions. He is the only employee whom has been permitted return to work with restrictions. I’m the assistant company union steward and the majority of my co-workers have requested we get to the bottom of this matter. Before I approach management, I would like to know if its possible there is some type of legal loop hole that allows his circumstance to be an exception to union policy?

Asked on March 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If there is a co-worker who has been cleared for light duty work through your union but there is no light duty available for him or her, then this employee cannot do any work due to doctor's restrictions. If that is the situation, most likely this employee will need to be placed on unemployment pending his or her ability to do the work available based on any physical restriction presently and in the future.

I suggest that you consult further with an attorney experienced in labor law. The issue that I see is not what is a union requirement with respect to your question but rather a legal issue under state employment law.


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