If you have been injured on the job, and you have filed for Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits, you may receive a ‘light duty’ job offer from your employer. Before you accept this offer, you need to understand exactly what it means for your legal rights and financial interests. To be clear: Accepting a light duty offer might be a big mistake. Indeed, in many cases, accepting a light duty work position can even have a significant adverse impact on you and your work injury claim. Here, our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys discuss some of the things you should know about light duty job offers.
What is ‘Light Duty’ Position?
The term ‘light duty’ is employed very broadly and may be used to describe a wide variety of different positions. Indeed, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines a ‘light duty’ position as an alternative job role that is less demanding than an employee’s previous position. Additionally, the commission also states that ‘light duty’ can be used simply to describe circumstances in which an employee is excused from a few of the more demanding aspects of their previous position. In other words, a ‘light duty position’ can refer to almost anything. Before accepting, you need to know exactly what you are getting into and you must be sure that you are up to the task.
Be Skeptical of Light Duty Job Offers
Employers and their insurance companies have a financial incentive to get injured workers back on the job as soon as possible. The quicker an injured work is earning money, the quicker their workers’ compensation payments can be reduced, or even eliminated altogether. This means that employers sometimes try to push workers back into positions that the employee is not really ready to handle. Additionally, it also sometimes leads to some employers offering injured workers a chance to work at a ‘fake’ position’.
Never Accept a ‘Fake’ or ‘Made Up’ Light Duty Position
Many light duty positions are genuine; they present a real opportunity to work temporarily and permanently in a spot that is a better fit for your physical or mental condition. Unfortunately, some employers also offer injured workers a spot at a ‘fake’ light duty position. Essentially, this means that the employer is just making up a job position for you to fill while you are injured. You should never accept this type of offer. Why? Because in many cases, that position will soon be eliminated. A few months down the road, the employer will just get rid of the position and will lay you off. This type of bait and switch is unlawful, but going through it can create serious problems for an injured worker. The bottom line: Do not take a ‘made up’ position. If your company does not have a real light duty position that is appropriate for you, then you have a legal right to receive workers’ compensation benefits while you make a recovery.
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys are standing by, ready to help. Before you accept a light duty position, please contact our team at 617-825-0965. At Fitzpatrick & Associates we represent injured workers throughout the region, including in Lexington, Belmont and Winchester.