If you’ve been injured in an accident at work, your employer (and your employer’s insurance company) has an invested interest in getting you back to work and keeping you off the workers’ compensation rolls.
To do that, they may offer you a “light-duty” position that’s not even close to the type of work that you did for them in the past.
It probably sounds like a bargain — sitting around in an office all day answering phones or doing a little light filing instead of laboring on a construction site or working on the factory floor. You can take all the time you need to heal from your injury and still get paid for showing up.
Well, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That light duty position might eventually cost you your job.
One of the things that you want to look at carefully is whether or not the position you’re being offered is a real job. It should be a legitimate job that the company routinely has someone perform. If you’re being used as additional help alongside the person who normally does that job, as a fill-in for the person who usually does the job while they are on leave or are filing the position so that the company doesn’t have to hire someone else, that’s a good sign that it’s real.
If it isn’t, it’s likely something cooked up just to get you off workers’ compensation. At some point in the near future, the company could simply eliminate the position and you would be left without either workers’ comp payments or a job.
To be fair, some employers are genuinely motivated to be helpful and want to see their employees get back to work safely. Others aren’t so altruistic. Only you can decide which category your employer falls into. Either way, it might be wise to seek some advice on workers’ compensation and explore all your legal options before you decide how to respond to a light-duty offer.
Source: America’s Workers Compensation, “Everything You Need to Know About Light Duty,” accessed Feb. 02, 2018