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Job threatening to terminate employment
#1
I am in Phoenix Arizona. I broke my hip at work about 7 and a half months ago. I have been on workers comp. I have a couple job-related questions.

My doctor released me a few months ago for light duty work. My work has consistently told me they have no light duty work for me. A week ago my HR lady called me and said that if, after my next doctor appointment, the doctor does not release me to full duty, they will terminate my employment.

1. is this legal for them to do this?

2. What if my doctor releases me to full duty but with restrictions? Can my employer reject my restrictions and still terminate my employment because they are not satisfied with my restrictions?

3. If my doctor does release me to full duty, OR, if he does not and my employer terminates me, will I get one more workers comp. check? What would be the next course of action if I am, in fact, terminated? I have been looking for work that is less physical than my current position, but have not found anything yet. Would I be able to get unemployment benefits if I am fired (don't really want to go on unemployment...I'm sure it will be even less than the workers comp. I am receiving)?

4. Would this be a good time for me to retain a lawyer? Or is this just a normal event in the course of a workers comp. case?

Thanks for all the help you can give me.
 
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#2
1. they are not required to hold a job or create a job for you. ADA law only requires that the employer discuss reasonable accommodation. FMLA provides 12 weeks of job protection.
2. they would be open to adverse legal action and discrimination charges. they can have their own fitness for duty exam if they need more medical information. you would have to look for a new job. beyond 12 weeks you have no job protection. it is discriminatory to terminate you for filing a claim.
3. that depends on your medical status. if/when you reach Maximum Medical Improvement, Temporary disability payments end.
if you are at MMI then you would be able to look for work and would be eligibile for unemployment if you otherwise meet the requirements.
employees changing jobs because of an injury is normal.

you may be entitled to addional disability payments after you are MMI. (see: https://www.azica.gov/claims-about-permanent-impairment)
more information here (including ombudsman contact)
https://www.azica.gov/divisions/claims-division

you've asked about obtaining an atty before. I think it would bring you peace of mind...
search for attys here
http://www.maricopabar.org/
http://pimacountybar.org/lawyer-referral-service-lrs
http://www.azbar.org/
Signature/Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information.........
 
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#3
So, not ure I understood everything. So they would not be able to reject the accommodations my doctor made? For example, my employer has a 'back to work' fitness form the doctor would have to fill out before I return to work. On it is a list of possible restrictions, such as 'No sitting on floor', 'no kneeling', 'no squatting, 'no bending' . These are what I am unable to do with my injury at this time. In my job, those are things that I should be able to do. If, for example, my doctor states that I can come back to work, but I need to sit on a chair, not on the floor, (I am unable at this point to sit very low onto a floor without difficulty), my employer would be required to accommodate me? Is that what you are saying? Or no?

I consulted a lawyer and he wants $200 out of each of my workers comp. checks each month...and I am barely making it as it is with my workers comp. checks.

Thanks for your reply.
 
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#4
No. Unfortunately ADA law does not require the employer to alter or change the job requirements if they think they are unreasonable or be an undue hardship.
What is "reasonable" is often litigated
https://www.ada.gov
https://adata.org/top-ada-frequently-asked-questions
Signature/Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information.........
 
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#5
(02-10-2018, 10:45 PM)1171 Wrote: No. Unfortunately ADA law does not require the employer to alter or change the job requirements if they think they are unreasonable or be an undue hardship.
What is "reasonable" is often litigated
https://www.ada.gov
https://adata.org/top-ada-frequently-asked-questions

So basically, they can fire me if they don't like the job accommodations my doctor imposes? Then I have to fend for myself and try and find another job. Because, when the doctor releases me to full duty, workers comp won't pay me anymore. They will still pay for doctor visits but not temporary payments?

Well thanks for your help.
 
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#6
Here in NY, some places are just like that... Specially my former work. Gave them 7 years of hard work and the only time I missed a day was when my brother went in for Heart Surgery and when my doctor took me out cause of my job injury.. They refused to accommodate my restrictions and canned me....
 
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#7
Arizona law provides that an employer may terminate an employee at any time. The term is called “at-will employment.” The legal basis for this is that the employment relationship is considered to be like a contract and at any time either party may decide to end the employment relationship.
questions & answers - AZ Law Help
http://www.azlawhelp.org/viewquestions.c...2&qid=1140

Unless your covered by a Collective Bargaining Ageement, you would be a union member .
 
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#8
(02-12-2018, 06:41 PM)241050 Wrote:
(02-10-2018, 10:45 PM)1171 Wrote: No. Unfortunately ADA law does not require the employer to alter or change the job requirements if they think they are unreasonable or be an undue hardship.
What is "reasonable" is often litigated
https://www.ada.gov
https://adata.org/top-ada-frequently-asked-questions

So basically, they can fire me if they don't like the job accommodations my doctor imposes? Then I have to fend for myself and try and find another job. Because, when the doctor releases me to full duty, workers comp won't pay me anymore. They will still pay for doctor visits but not temporary payments?

Well thanks for your help.

Your situation is complex and I would recommend discussing with a attorney who deals with labor law. It is unknown if your condition falls under ADA but an attorney is the best person to ask.

https://www.workplacefairness.org/file_AZ
I am not an attorney.Anything I write should not be considered legal advice.I am writing from my own personal experiences,which is not from any sort of legal background. You should consult with an attorney over legal issues. In California, if you cannot get an attorney you can consult with an I&A officer.
 
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#9
(02-12-2018, 07:10 PM)tbear6410 Wrote: Here in NY, some places are just like that... Specially my former work. Gave them 7 years of hard work and the only time I missed a day was when my brother went in for Heart Surgery and when my doctor took me out cause of my job injury.. They refused to accommodate my restrictions and canned me....

Is that right? Yes, my work, it seems, is probably going to do that. I have worked there around 10 years. So did you find work right away? That is just unbelievable.
 
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#10
(02-12-2018, 08:39 PM)goingback Wrote: Arizona law provides that an employer may terminate an employee at any time. The term is called “at-will employment.” The legal basis for this is that the employment relationship is considered to be like a contract and at any time either party may decide to end the employment relationship.
questions & answers - AZ Law Help
http://www.azlawhelp.org/viewquestions.c...2&qid=1140

Unless your covered by a Collective Bargaining Ageement, you would be a union member .

Thanks for your reply.
 
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