We hired a small-built man for a job requiring some heavy lifting. He developed a back problem. A doctor has told him he should find another job, because of the back problem. He doesn’t want to quit and lose benefits. What should we do?
If your Workers’ Compensation has already paid some of the doctor’s bills, it is a clear warning of even ore Workers’ Comp expenses in the future unless you either:
- Modify the employee’s job to eliminate the need to do heavy lifting, or
- Dismiss the employee (better to pay unemployment now than to possibly pay Workers’ Comp benefits for the working life of the employee).
For help in modifying the employee’s job, contact a safety consultant or the state office of OSHA. To possibly assist your employee in finding a job, contact your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation office. Proceed cautiously. You don’t want to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, nor do you want to have a wrongful discharge lawsuit on your hands.