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Boss intimidating South Dakota

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  • Boss intimidating South Dakota

    I recently broke my foot at work and my Doctor told me to stay off and no weight bearing on the affected foot. I talked him into letting me go back light duty if my boss could accommodate me. Well I did not know how hard it would be trying not to bear any weight on my foot and could only finish 4 hours of my regular shift. My boss got very upset and told me that he expected me to finish a whole days work. I called the wc nurse and she called him back and he said that he did not have any lite duty for me. She told me that I could work my 4 hours lite duty in my department and that wc would pick up the rest. Well boss has intimidated me into doing my complete job and telling me that he just could not do my job for me anymore. He tells me how he came to work after cutting his toe off and the assistant manager tells me how he came to work with a broken foot and 3 days after knee surgery. My break is in a place that is slow to heal and if I am not carefull, surgery could result. I have been using vacation pay and sick leave in lieu of wc payments. It is not a matter of just saying no to this man, he is unaproachable. I do not know how to handle his comments nor how to defend myself. What are my rights?

  • #2
    If your doctor released you to work, then your employer has the right to expect you to work. What is the nature of your job and why is it so difficult to stay off your foot? Do you have crutches or a way to get around without putting weight on your foot? Unless your job requires you to stand and walk a lot, most jobs (and WC carriers) would expect you to return and not be off the whole time your break is healing. Rarely is an employee off for several weeks for a break whether WC or not.

    If all your doctor cleared you for was 4 hours a day, then the insurance company would pick up the difference. If you self limited yourself to 4 hours, they would not.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      more info

      I am the head of my department ( I am the only person in this dept.) My job consists of heavy lifting, pulling pallet jacks, bending, squatting, kneeling, stocking and lots and lots of walking. When my manager called me at home to do an evaluation for wc, at the end he said that he could modify my job so I could return. When I returned, I was told that they could not do my job for me anymore and that I would have to do it myself. My doctor only released me for light duty and unloading freight and lifting things as heavy as 80 lbs doesn't seem like light duty to me. I tried to use a grocery cart for leverage and somewhat of a crutch but all that accomplished was a very bruised chest and stomach. I have been at this place for over 16 years and have done almost every position there except cut meat. I could have cashiered or done bookkeeping or customer service but they didn't give me that option, they simply said after I returned that they had nothing. I am going back to work tomorrow,( been off for knee surgery ).. my new doctors orders are as follows: May bear full weight if tolerable light duty work and may require more rest periods and shorter work hours... My foot was x-rayed on monday and it is still broken. The good news is that it isn't displaced.My question is... if I do as my manager asks and I end up having to have surgery because of it , will wc deny because I didn't do as the doctor said? I talked to my manager yesterday and told him and he said " it's been 6 weeks, that foot should be healed by now" do I have to have the doctor call him and prove that it is still broken? I just want to do the right thing, I am not trying to scam anybody.

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      • #4
        First of all, those restrictions tell your employer nothing useful. I would ask the doctor for more details. Can you still do the heavy lifting? How often approximately do you need breaks? What does your doctor mean by shorter work hours? As the employer a note that just says an employee can work as tolerated and may need schedule adjustments does not tell me what the employee is safe to do. Your employer can not comply with restrictions your doctor hasn't given them. This is better for you as well as you don't want to wait until you have reinjured yourself to realize you were overdoing it. Make sure your doctor knows exactly what you do at work. Do not assume from your title or place of employment that he knows what you do or the physical lay out of the facility. If you have to climb to the 10 floor or regularly access an attic space that does not have an elevator, your doctor needs to know this.

        If after reviewing the specific restrictions, your employer can not meet them, then you should be off work and placed on TTD until your employer is either able to meet the restrictions, or your restrictions are lifted to the point your employer can accommodate. If you knowingly work against doctor's orders, there is a chance any subsequent injury will be denied.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          In a past job I would actually send a job description to the physician treating an employee who had been injured on the job. He/she could then write the release to light duty with full knowledge of the job requirements. The doc would often list things like, cannot lift more than 15 pounds, no pushing, bending, etc. It helped us get employees safely back to work when possible.

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