Is my employer liable for a re-injury while I am working on light duty?

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Is my employer liable for a re-injury while I am working on light duty?

I work in residential care for troubled youth. After a client restraint led to me tearing my ACL, I was placed on light duty by the doctor. My restriction was no restraints but I was still responsible for working directly with clients. Then 2 months later I was assaulted, further hurting my knee and setting back my rehab. Do I have a case for a civil suit for not being properly protected?

Asked on February 1, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, you would appear to not have a cause of action. Your employer apparently honored the restriction of no restraints.The fact that a client assaulted you is not the employer's responsibility, where 1) they were seemingly honoring the restrictions and 2) you were continuing to do the job under those conditions.

You were still working with clients, but that's your job--if you could not work with clients at all, you could not do the job and they would not have had to pay you at all. You could have quit your job, possibly taken FMLA leave, asked for a furlough or suspension, but did not--you continued to work, knowing there was some risk, subject to the restrictions you own doctor provided. That would not seem to provide a basis for liabilty.


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