if im put on light duty by a dr, should i still be required to complete my regular duties?

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if im put on light duty by a dr, should i still be required to complete my regular duties?

I work for home depot… My position is in lumber and building materials. my daily duties include moving, lifting and cutting/loading of heavy materials. I recently had an accident at work and was put on light duty. The note specifically stated no use of my left hand, yet I have been kept in the same position and left to resume my regular duties? is this legal? what steps should I have taken?

Asked on December 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Hawaii

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is legal if the nature of your job is simply that you cannot do it without moving, lifting, loading, etc. heavy materials. You are entitled to a "reasonable accommodation"--a change in your job which lets you do the job. An example would be if you were a cashier who normally stands, but had some problem making standing problematic: they'd have to accommodate you by letting your sit and getting you a stool or chair. Diabetic employees have to given breaks to monitor their insulin and eat as necessary. Etc.
But if your job is to lift, move, etc. heavy items and you can't do that, you can't do your job. It is not a reasonable accommodation to pay your for not doing your job. It is also not a reasonable accommoation to move you to another job--the law does not require an employer to transfer you to a different department or give you a different job; you have to be able to do the job you had with the accommodation.
So your employer can require you to do your job; if you can't you could be terminated. The doctor has no authority over the employer to change this.


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