If an employee has been on disability for over a year and wants to come back, do we have to provide a job for her?

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If an employee has been on disability for over a year and wants to come back, do we have to provide a job for her?

The employee has had serious back issues and wants to come back as a waitress. We are concerned that this could become a workmen’s comp issue down the road. She is 74 and quite frail.

Asked on May 18, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No, you don't need to bring her back or provide a job for her if she has been out for a year, unless you had given her some written contract or agreement that you would do so. Disablity is income replacment (money) for someone who cannot work; it does not hold or guaranty a job or a return to employment. FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) leave would hold or protect a job, but since FMLA leave is for a maximum of 12 weeks (even if the business is large enough to covered by FMLA and the employee met the eligibility requirements), this would not help someone who was out for more than 12 months. You do not need to provide her a job.


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