Employee is injured and out of work on Massachusetts workers compensation. The employee takes time off, goes to visit their doctor and is cleared. This is wonderful, right? Well, sometimes.
The truth is, employers may face a variety of dangers once they receive a back to full duty release from a doctor concerning an employee who was out on workers compensation. He or she may be afraid to return the employee to his full time position because they fear that another injury may occur, or the injury may become worse. If this is the case, it is important for employers to realize that they now have treated this employee as if he was disabled.
If you treat your employee as disabled, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) laws state that since you have “regarded the employee as impaired or disabled,” the employee now qualifies for protection under the ADAAA laws. This situation often stems from the lack of specific job descriptions related to an employee’s full time duties accompanying the employee when they go to the doctor for return to work clearance. Had the employer sent the specific full time duty job description with the employee to the doctor’s appointment, the employer would naturally feel more comfortable with the doctor releasing the employee for full duty. In turn, this would avoid the complications facing them under the ADAAA.
Such complications include the possibility that the light duty job may now be argued to be the employees’ permanent position, not to mention reasonable accommodation provisions and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) concerns if the employer has more than 50 employees and the employee has qualified under the FMLA rules.
The bottom line: It is important for employers to stay on top of their employees’ healing process. If you are kept in the loop and take an interest in their doctor visits and recovery process, you may feel much more comfortable once he or she comes back to work.
If you are interested in discussing this matter further, do not hesitate to call our agents at Wolpert Insurance. With a knowledgeable staff behind us, we have the answers you are looking for. Please call 877-215-1571, today!