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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    19

    Question Do I Have to Accept My Employer's Proposed Accommodations

    My claim is filed in : UTAH

    Recap:
    *industrial accident
    *botched ER job (3 stitches then sent on my way)
    *back to work, no modifications
    *3 months telling the company nurses-about biweekly-things weren't right
    *nurses insisted that I was fine
    *went to my own physician, he sent me to specialist
    *approved for w/c
    *specialist - surgery to repair previously unrepaired nerve damage
    *OT/ 6 months w/c , not at MMI


    Last week HR requested that I get a fitness for duty certificate from my Doctor. HR claimed that Doctor's information was unclear, and sent me back to get clarifications ( 2x.) This is a busy Doctor, and he is losing his patience, but I am the messenger/patient placed in the middle. Doctor states that I cannot work in an environment where extremes of temperature are present and I cannot use my left hand. This is a frozen food production factory (The temperatures are always extreme). HR said there is no clear reason why I cannot work and sent me back to work (10 hour shifts putting frozen food into trays) the next day. Accomodations are that I can use my right hand only and wear a cotton glove for warmth on my left hand. 4 hours of this and my left hand was throbbing. It is COLD on the floor and we are working w/frozen product. I went home. I explained to HR that I did NOT feel that they were meeting my Doctor's recommendations. They said that they will allow me to have an additional glove, and that they are willing to accomodate but it seems that I am not.

    Now my question...

    Do I have to accept my employer's version of accommodation as well as their interpretation of not working in "extremes of temperature"?

    I am trying to nurse my injured hand (keep it warm and protected in a cold and fast paced, precarious environment) while there has been no modification in the workload I am expected to do. Please be aware that everyone else is using two hands.

    HR also stated that they are suspending pay while I get further clarification from my Dr. because I am choosing not to work in their accomodation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    ca
    Posts
    857

    Default Re: Do I Have to Jump

    I wish I knew the answer... Where has Complawr been? Just remember people in HR always think they are smarter than the doctors, they dont know squat....

    I would call you doctor. I dont care how busy he is, your his patient.. He needs to take care of you with clear restrictions and HR needs to comply.
    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world...indeed...its the only thing that ever has - Author Margaret Mead

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    florida
    Posts
    640

    Default Re: Do I Have to Jump

    The person to ask is your doctor. Tell your employer to provide you with a written job description to include the temperature you will be working in and for how long on a daily basis. Take this to the doctor for him to review.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Do I Have to Jump

    Thanks Gypsy - My Doctor is a good guy so I hate to keep bugging him about the same question over and over again. HR has sent me to see him for clarification 3x now, but you are right...I am still his patient.

    ADJ - That is the real quandry here. HR is using their own interpretation of what the Doctor is saying - no extreme temperatures. They are saying hec, put 25 gloves on the hand to keep it warm if you want to, just do the work. The essential job functions say you need to be able to work in temperature from 35 - 100 F. Another function is to handle commodities that are from 0 - 160 degrees. My Doc is saying no extreme temps and now HR is saying, its not extreme if you wear a glove, and aren't they kind, I don't even have to use that hand. They are making a modification where I can use one hand instead of two, but of course I am still expected to keep up the work load. It's all a matter of their interpretation of what the Doctor has written 3 x. Thus the confusion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Do I Have to Jump

    I am going through the same thing with my employer. Initially they said I could not use the machine I normally used because they said it violated my restrictions, so they put me doing a job that "is not really a job they offer." After several months of this they decide that I can use the machine, but now I say no that my doctor has said it will violate the restrictions and cause further injury. Here is where the battle stands. The job finally said they wanted a doctor to come in and watch me work on the machine, which makes me laugh because all along I'm telling them this is a violation. My lawyer said I am under no obligation to further injure myself so we decided to turn down their evaluation and go back to my doctor who says "let me make this clear, NO machine." Unfortunately at the moment I am out of a job as workers comp says they will not pay because they say I can do the job even though my doctor says no. On the up side the workers comp attorney has approached my attorney asking to settle this case, so that is where we now stand. It's a tug of war. I wish you well, I know the pain you are in.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    19

    Default Looks like I messed up...

    While waiting for my Doctor to clear things up, I called off work 6 times. Apparently I was supposed to go to work even though it seemed to me like my employer was not meeting the Doctor's work restrictions and by going to work I was putting myself in harms way. Now I've been dropped by w/c (the IC) and my employer. They considered my calling off work as not accepting work that was offered, even though I tried it for 2 days and it was PAINFUL. Since I couldn't get an appointment w/the Doctor immediately, I sent him a fax, called to follow up but no response so just waited for the appointment. Wrong move. I thought I was doing the right thing. Dang...I hate not knowing the rules! Now I'm out of the game. It is all just so immoral.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Looks like I messed up...

    I think you should call a comp lawyer and just go in for a free consultation and let them deal with your job and the doctor.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Midwest US
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Do I Have to Accept My Employer's Proposed Accommodations

    I gave up on getting ratings, etc from my regular doctor, lung specialist, and orthopedic specialist, as they did not really know how to rate me. They also are not savy with the work comp forms and do not have time to fill them out monthly. My doctor referred me to a occupational specialist and I now see him monthly. He does all my work comp ratings, etc and he confers with my other specialists. Occupational doctors are the most familiar with work comp forms. He is not associated with my employer, as I was referred by my other treating specialists.
    Antonia

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    17,943

    Default Re: Do I Have to Accept My Employer's Proposed Accommodations

    Your restrictions are on you, not your job or your employer.
    Restrictions are a medical determination, not one made by your ER or supervisor. They aren't even to be interpreted by your ER.

    If your ER cannot offer modified, alternate or reasonable accommodation to your restrictions, you would automatically return to TTD status, and your claim move to some type of resolution. If VR services are available you should take advantage of those.
    Your ER doen't make the decision on any medical in your claim... whether that is treatment, medications, or restrictions. Your Dr does that.

    So... as ADJ suggested, go back to your Dr, with the job description, and he will decipher and determine what you can/can't do.

    Keep in mind those restrictions are for ALL of your daily life activities...not just how you perform your job.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Do I Have to Accept My Employer's Proposed Accommodations

    H20girl:

    Your doctor and your employer should be communicating to get clear and concise directions on how your injury should be treated. If the doctor gives you specific restrictions, and the employer can accommodate those restrictions, I believe you are obligated to return to work in that capacity. But if you disagree with your employer, you should definately check with your doctor to make sure the employer is cooperating with the doctor's orders. Normally some employers have job descriptions that can be sent to the doctor. The doctor does not necessarily sign off on the job description, but he can go off of it to determine when you are available for modified duty or regular duty. If your employer does not have one readily available, you should have them create one.

    -H2HU

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