Is it legal for an employer to require that an employee always obtain authorization for a work related injury or illness?

UPDATED: Dec 30, 2011

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Is it legal for an employer to require that an employee always obtain authorization for a work related injury or illness?

My 18 year old grandson is a welder. A few nights ago, he sustained a second and third degree burns to his lower leg. The burn is at least 3 inches in diameter and looks like a crater. He immediately reported the incident to his supervisor. His supervisor cleaned the burn and advised him to go home. This was at approximately 10 pm. Later, due to increased and severe pain, my grandson went to the emergency room. The next day, he reported to the safety coordinator. The safety coordinator told him that he did not have the right to seek medical intervention without authorization from him unless it was a life and death situation. He told him that he should have just put a band aid on it and waited until morning. He was threatened with termination and suspended for three days without pay. Is this legal protocol?

Asked on December 30, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your grandson was injured at work, it is always standard protocol for the employer to request medical authorization from your son's treating physician that he can or cannot return to work. The reason is that under the worker's compensation act, the employer is required to report this work related injury to his or her worker's compensation insurance carrier.

As to your grandson's right to medical treatment, he has the absolute right to such with or without employer approval. The threats with respect to termination and suspension for seeking medical aid by the employer with respect to your grandson are improper.

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 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.

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