What are my rights if I hurt myself at work after my boss ignored my chiropractor’s note about my lifting restrictions?

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What are my rights if I hurt myself at work after my boss ignored my chiropractor’s note about my lifting restrictions?

Now I have a herniated disk in my neck and lost my job and canceled my insurance. Do I have a case against the company?

Asked on August 3, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your boss did not ignore your chiropractor's note--you did. You chose to lift more than you medically should have and were injured; the fault, legally, is yours.

Your  employer hires you to do a job; if you cannot do that job, such as lifting a certain amount of weight (if that is part of your job), your employer does not have to create a new job for you, give you a different job, pay you for not doing your job, etc.--your boss can legally require you to do the job you are employed to do. If that job poses a risk for you, you have to decide what is more important--keeping the job, or being hurt. You could also decide to use sick, vacation, or personal days, if you have any, rather than work; apply for FMLA leave, if you and your employer are both eligible and covered; ask if you could take unpaid leave; etc. Whatever you chose, the consequences fall on you. In this case, you chose to continue doing your job even though it posed a risk to your health; your employer is not liable for your choice to do that. Unfortunately, while your situation is sympathetic, based on what you write, you do not have a case against the company.


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