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No shift available for light duty? Connecticut

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  • No shift available for light duty? Connecticut

    1. My place of employment has a Union who has been unable to help me answer this question...

    2. I was injured at work 3 weeks ago, taken out of work while my shoulder is healing, and now I have been released to light duty. HOWEVER, I bid using my seniority with the Union for my 3rd shift schedule which does not conflict with my children's schedule. They are home with me during the afternoon everyday and go to their father's house to sleep while I am at work 5 days a week.

    Now my employer is telling me I can only come to work on either 1st or 2nd shift for light duty and I suspect they are violating my seniority won rights to my 3rd shift schedule.

    How can they only offer light duty for 2 out of 3 shifts?

    Also, I will only be able to work 20 hours a week due to this constraint.

    What do I do?

  • #2
    It is quite common to only offer light duty on certain shifts either because there is greater supervision during those times or the shifts are staffed more fully and the employer can work around your restrictions. It is entirely legal to offer light duty on a different shift and it is extremely rare for child care to be sufficient reason to decline light duty and still receive benefits. Unless your union contract guarantees you light duty on all 3 shifts, you are out of luck. That would be rare and it sounds like they do not offer this.
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by joec
      You should be able to exercise seniority,once the restriction is lifted.
      JoeC
      The lifting restriction?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
        It is quite common to only offer light duty on certain shifts either because there is greater supervision during those times or the shifts are staffed more fully and the employer can work around your restrictions. It is entirely legal to offer light duty on a different shift and it is extremely rare for child care to be sufficient reason to decline light duty and still receive benefits. Unless your union contract guarantees you light duty on all 3 shifts, you are out of luck. That would be rare and it sounds like they do not offer this.
        So the employer would not be violating our contract by not recognizing my right to seniority while injured?

        I have never been injured before, so this is all new to me. Why would I essentially cease to have my rights protected by the Union contract if I was injured?

        It just doesn't seem fair at all to me that I got hurt doing a job for them, and now while they are paying for my doctor's bills, they are refusing to let me work my regular hours. I would be delighted to go back to work, even if I was just doing light duty, but I am forced to either not see my children at all or take a 50% pay cut until my shoulder heals because of their light duty hours.

        Comment


        • #5
          Check Your State Laws!!!!!

          Originally posted by kimitt View Post
          So the employer would not be violating our contract by not recognizing my right to seniority while injured?

          I have never been injured before, so this is all new to me. Why would I essentially cease to have my rights protected by the Union contract if I was injured?

          It just doesn't seem fair at all to me that I got hurt doing a job for them, and now while they are paying for my doctor's bills, they are refusing to let me work my regular hours. I would be delighted to go back to work, even if I was just doing light duty, but I am forced to either not see my children at all or take a 50% pay cut until my shoulder heals because of their light duty hours.
          In Nevada, an employer who offers light duty must pay 80% if the job is significantly different that before the injury, and 100% if the job performed is similar to the job you did before, based on the number of hours worked. If they do not offer the state required minimum, you do not have to take the lite duty job and you will still recieve full benefits.

          I saw this on a post here somewhere, someone in nevada was being offered lite duty at 50% or so and didn't think they had to take it.

          WC should pay the difference in the time you do work and what they are compensating you at currently untill you are back 100%
          Last edited by rcpilot; 03-12-2007, 10:37 AM. Reason: clarification
          What is veiwed is not always what is seen and
          what is heard is not always what is spoken!
          ~M. Noitall~

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by joec
            Whatever the medical restriction is. Have you talked to your shop steward?
            JoeC
            I am a shop steward.

            The problem is, we have 400 employees. 25% are Full Time, 75% Part Time. Out of the 25%, only about 20 of us are FT 3rd shift employees, and we have not had this really come up before and had the employee actually do anything about it. Most of the employees before just accepted what the employer told them which was " You should be happy we offer light duty at all" and stayed at home until they were healed. Either that or they had no family obligations that prevented them from coming to a different shift. Our employer does regularly accept childcare issues as a reason to A) change seniority bids, and B) refuse mandatory order-ins.
            Last edited by kimitt; 03-12-2007, 10:43 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by kimitt View Post
              So the employer would not be violating our contract by not recognizing my right to seniority while injured?

              I have never been injured before, so this is all new to me. Why would I essentially cease to have my rights protected by the Union contract if I was injured?

              It just doesn't seem fair at all to me that I got hurt doing a job for them, and now while they are paying for my doctor's bills, they are refusing to let me work my regular hours. I would be delighted to go back to work, even if I was just doing light duty, but I am forced to either not see my children at all or take a 50% pay cut until my shoulder heals because of their light duty hours.
              Since you aren't performing the same job duties you already are working outside the contract. The union agreement I can almost guarantee only applies while you are performing your regular job without restrictions. If you need accommodations or another job while you are healing, then you are not fulfilling the full obligations on your end, whether it be your fault or not. If the contract was written such that seniority was honored regardless of your duties or light duty was available on all shifts, your union would know about it.

              If you normally have the children in the afternoon, go for first shift. Unless you have some really funky shifts where you work, at least two should give you the afternoons free.
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                If you normally have the children in the afternoon, go for first shift. Unless you have some really funky shifts where you work, at least two should give you the afternoons free.[/QUOTE]

                Yes, I realize that, but since the doctor that is treating me is in my hometown (which is an hour away from my work) and requires me to come in 3 days a week for PT during the work week, my employer now wants me to schedule my appointments at 9am, (takes an hour bringin us to 10am), drive to work, punch in at 11 am, work for 3 hours, and punch out at 2pm to be home for 3pm. Even if they pay me for the hour I am at the MD's office, that is still only 5 hours three days a week.

                This is because they have denied for me to do the following:

                The alternative is drive to work at 6am, punch in at 7am ( the earliest one can come in to light duty), work for one hour, drive to the doctor (on the clock),have PT, then drive back, work for three hours until 2pm. That still leaves me short hours and puts an additional 120 miles on my car a day.

                The Worker's Compensation people have said that they will cover the mileage 120 miles per day times 45 cents or whatever is currently is, for me to go to the doctor, but it all seems really ridiculous, doesn't it?

                Will I get in trouble if I just try to go back to work with my shoulder the way it is? I can't afford to live like this. I am a paramedic with a private company and I work 3rd shift because it is the only one I can and still have my children full time as a single mom.

                Comment


                • #9
                  No state requires your employer to pay you for the time you spend driving to and from or atttending PT and doctor's appointments (IME's are a different story). The carrier will pay mileage at a rate set by the state, but not lost time. I would see if there is a PT facility near work or if early afternoon/evening is an option for PT. Many facilities are open extended hours.

                  Not to sound harsh but your employer can not help that you live an hour from the workplace and do not have day care for the kids. They are not required to take such personal circumstances into account as they have no control over them and it would lead to employees being treated differently based on outside factors and not what is best for the business. Giving you the choice of two different shifts seems fair, as is giving you the option to work PT to accommodate your children's schedules.
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    While no State may require her employer to pay for her time to go to PT, Doc,
                    etc. her union contract may require it. A few years ago I worked in a union covered position that required exactly that. So you may be wrong in your assumption that her employer isn't required to pay her for that time.

                    Union contracts and employment contracts are binding documents. She is really going to have to go to her union's local president or business manager to figure this out.

                    And there is nothing wrong with an employer taking an employees child care needs into consideration. This is done all the time. It raises employee morale and shows that the employer cares about the employees on a personal level.
                    If you think this isn't done you should talk to folks that work at Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Times are changing and the more successful and progressive employers are taking an employees needs into consideration.

                    Good luck with your endeavors to get back to work. And it probably wouldn't hurt to talk this over with an attorney.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Since the OP is a union steward and already went to the union about this and was told there was no recourse there, I was going strictly from the legal perspective. While true a CBA could provide additional benefits that doesn't seem to be the case here.

                      Same with child care issues. I have made exceptions to work around these, but legally it isn't required. There may also be something in the CBA that limits the employer's ability to be flexible with the shifts based on non-work related obligations. I ran into that myself in trying to accommodate someone's child care schedule. If the union is saying there isn't an alternative to first or second shift, it may be that the contract does not allow for such an alternative.
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My state does require my employer, (the largest Private Ambulance Service in all of the US) to pay employees for their time if they are required to go to the md, or PT during the week while they are on light duty. The Workman's Comp company pays us for our mileage. While I understand the point ElleMD is making about it not being their problem that I have children, it seems to me that since my Union contract (which I have read back and forth, inside and out, over the years) does not provide for any explanation or discussion of injuries or light duty, that I would essentially waive all my union rights and not qualify for my Union representaion while being on light duty as A) I am not doing the job I was hired in my contract to do, and B) it is not a covered job description or bargaining position job.

                        For example:
                        Only those individuals who actually DRIVE ambulances and care for patients have a union where I work. The secretaries, call takers, and dispatchers do not. The people who do payroll and scheduling are also non-union. As a light duty employee, I am not allowed to drive the ambulances or care for patients.

                        And this is exactly how it is written in the contract.
                        They did make a proviso for those individuals who received DWI out of work, as in CT your DL is suspended for 3 months after you first offense without question. They made arrangements for an employee with a drinking problem to work in Dispatch for a year, and still left him a bargaining unit employee.

                        I was a single mother when they hired me, and as there are at least a dozen of us, they have and continue to make allowances for childcare issues. Is past practice a claim for any of this?

                        Sorry to be such a pest, but I struggle to understand this from every angle so that when we renew our contract, it can be written better to keep this from happening. I also am trying to research case law in CT to incorporate that into my data.

                        Thank you, everybody.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Actually you are correct that time spent treating would be work hours. My initial source had this incorrect, so perhaps it is a new law but the regulations do require this. CT is then the only state the requires this, which is a bit surprising. [31-312]

                          Reading the actual statute it references the "normal" work hours so it is unclear how the state would actually apply that to the light duty on an off schedule.
                          Last edited by ElleMD; 03-12-2007, 01:58 PM.
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            can you direct me to the statutes that relate to CT's Worker's Comp laws please, I have had a difficult time looking through the website and navigating to where I need to be. Thanks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I cited one of them above. 31-312
                              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.

                              Comment

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