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Thread: Refusing to clear me to return to work - Ga Georgia

  1. #1
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    Default Refusing to clear me to return to work - Ga Georgia

    I work as a telemetry nurse. I had bleeding at 12 weeks and went to ER to be checked out. They had determined it was a subchorionic hemorrhage 2cm. The ER dr recommended pelvic rest for 3 days then to see my obgyn dr. That week. At the obgyn my dr stated I could go back to work, and that the subchorionic hemorrhage was only 1cm and was nothing to worry about. Since my manager said I needed a note with any restrictions in order to return to work I asked him to write one. he wrote one that stated "patient cannot lift pull or push 25lbs or greater." When I turned in this note to employee health they refused to clear me to come back to work. My supervisor stated I needed a note saying NO restrictions or else I need to go on fmla or look for another job, she also said we will all help you with any heavy lifting you just need a note saying no restrictions. When I had Called my obgyn office I spoke with a nurse who spoke with another OBGYN dr in the same group who stated 25lbs is the standard weight restrictions for all pregnant women and she would not write me a note. So as of now I have an appt this week to see my obgyn to ask him to write me a note stating no restrictions so I can return to work. Also this is not a high risk pregnancy. I am medically and physically able to perform my job and do not want to use fmla until my child is born. Any advice appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Your employer needs to accommodate your weight restrictions to the same extent they accommodate other temporarily disabled employees. They can't treat you different because you are pregnant.
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  3. #3
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    Dumb question. This is state specific, right? Not that GA is a place that I would expect FMLA to be enhanced. You gave pretty much what I thought federal law (FMLA) says, but my very weak understanding of the subject is that occasionally states get involved here.
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  4. #4
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    Employers can't force you to take off more time than you need under FMLA, but they can require you to have a "fit for duty" exam and meet 100% of the physical requirements for the job especially if they hold this policy for all illnesses/disabilities, even pregnancy. Like Betty said, they can't treat pregnancy different, but can treat it the same.

    If your doctor is putting a restriction, then the employer can take their word for what you can and cannot do over yours and refuse to let you work do to that issue. Because even if you say you won't lift, you might get into a situation where you instinctively do and if you hurt yourself or the baby, it could become a (large) workers compensation claim. The employer is looking to reduce their liability.

    It doesn't sound like your issues rise to the level to be covered under disability under ADA that would require reasonable accommodations..

    In looking at job descriptions online for telemetry nurses, it states frequently moving, lifting and transferring patients. The one I read stated 20lbs. Do you do that regularly/frequently? It also says Physical Demands (of the job) are in the Medium classification and in excess of those of those defined as Light Work. So it sounds like your employer is on pretty solid legal ground on what is required for your position.

  5. #5
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    Whether or not you want to use FMLA, your employer should not return you to work if your job requires you to do things that are against your restrictions. It is not appropriate, nor fair to require your coworkers to do all of the heavy lifting for the next several months.
    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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