What to do if I was told by my doctor that I was not allowed to lift push or pull anything over 20 lbs but my boss insists that there is no “light duty”?

UPDATED: May 24, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: May 24, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if I was told by my doctor that I was not allowed to lift push or pull anything over 20 lbs but my boss insists that there is no “light duty”?

Asked on May 24, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your medical condition qualifies as a "disability"--which it may; a disability is something which has a major imact on ordinary life functions (like what you can lift or move)--your employer must make "reasonable accomodations" to it under the law. However, a reasonable accomodation is a change in how the job is done, or the provision of some assistive technology or device, which will allow you to do the job you were hired to do. That is the critical point: if you simply cannot due your job, then the employer may terminate you--the employer is not required to transfer you to a different position, to make up a new job for you, or to retain and pay you when you can't do what you were hired to do.

So if the truly is no "light duty" available for your position--that is, if the restriction means you can't do your job--you employer may terminate you, or take any step short of termination, like suspending you, demoting you, putting you on furlough, etc.

Only if you have a job that could meaningfully do while not lifting, pushing, or pulling more than 20 lbs--that is, you can do your job with that restriction, without costing the employer too much in terms of money, efficiency, or disruption--would the employer possibly be obligated to give you light duty.

Remember: you doctor is not an executive of your company, and has no direct authority over it.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption