Many workers who've been injured on the job may be unable to perform their regular job duties while they recover from their injury. In some cases, an injured employee may be taken off the job completely due to their injury, while in other cases they may able to continue to work under a modified or revised job description. This allows them a chance to transition back into the workplace while recovering. Unfortunately, some transitioning employees may suffer from injury discrimination as a result of their workers compensation case, and the hostile work environment can add an extra layer of stress to an already difficult recovery process.
Doctor's Release to Work
In a typical workers compensation case, a doctor will release an employee to return to work after the doctor has determined that it's safe to do so. The doctor may in some cases release a worker to return to work under specific conditions, which means that while they can work, they can not yet perform all the duties they performed before the injury. Doctors may restrict employees from lifting heavy objects or standing for long periods of time, or any other activities that might interfere with their recovery.
Transitional Work Period
In many cases, injured employees may be offered transitional work while they recover from their injuries. Their job description and the duties required may be revised in order to accommodate their injury. This allows them to remain in the workplace and continue to earn a paycheck. Depending on the type of injury, this transitional work may only last as long as it takes to recover, or it may eventually become a new permanent position.
Difficulties and Accomodation Requirements
Unfortunately, not all employers and co-workers are as understanding and accommodating as they should be when an employee is injured. Injury discrimination in the workplace can and does occur, which can add further difficulties to an injured employee's transition. Fellow employees may resent the “special treatment” given to an injured worker, and employers may become angry and frustrated at having to accommodate a recovering worker. This creates what is called a hostile work environment, which can have a number of negative consequences.
Injury Discrimination and Legal Help
An injured employee who is having difficulty returning to work after an injury due to discrimination or other reasons should discuss their situation with a qualified attorney in order to know what their legal options are. A lawyer with experience in workers compensation cases can help an injured worker find a positive solution, allowing them to transition healthily and happily back into the work world.