When you visit your doctor for treatment of a workplace injury, your doctor may give you a note listing work restrictions. If you have work restrictions, it is very important to notify your employer of them and follow them.
What Is a Work Restriction?
A work restriction (also called a limitation) is an action or movement that you cannot perform while doing your job because of an injury or medical condition. For example, if you have a back injury, your doctor may limit the amount of weight that you can lift at a time. Your doctor should list the restriction on a doctor’s note or report that you can give to your employer. For the back injury, the note might say “Lift no more than 10 pounds” or “Can lift only 10 pounds or less”.
Other types of work restrictions could include:
- Cannot sit (or stand) for lengthy periods of time
- Needs frequent breaks from typing at the computer
- Requires adaptive equipment to use a particular machine or do a task
- Must avoid bending at the waist
- Cannot drive or operate heavy machinery (due to physical limitations or medications)
What Should You Do If You Have a Work Restriction?
If your doctor gives you a work restriction, communicate it to your employer as soon as possible. This could be as simple as asking your doctor to fax the doctor’s note to your employer, or dropping off the note with Human Resources. Also, make sure your manager is aware of your work restriction – perhaps by giving him or her a copy of the note.
You should not perform work that violates your restrictions under any circumstances. If you do, your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company could use it as an excuse to deny benefits. Many employees get placed in a position where they feel like they have to work against restrictions to do their job. You may be in that position. If so, talk to company management about possible “accommodations” for your work restrictions that would allow you to perform your job.
“Accommodations” is a legal term that should alert your employer to talk to you more about your restrictions. If discussions are unproductive, you may need to provide your employer with a more specific doctor’s note to make sure your restrictions get followed. Also, you may need the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer, qualified rehabilitation consultant, or employment lawyer to make sure your rights are protected.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.