Accident at Work? Where to go from Here?

by admin on May 14, 2010

Having a work situation here and not quite sure where to go with it from this point.

If, after sustaining injuries whilst doing your job at work, you have been off work for almost 18 months but still undergoing treatment (ie.surgery, physiotherapy,counseling etc), is it legally fair/right for your employer to ask you to apply for another position in your workplace/department? This would involve going back onto a 3 month probation period and no guarantee that they would keep you on after this period. You have also worked for this company for 9 years. Are they within their rights to do this/ask you to do this?

There is nothing to say that after all the treatment etc, you wouldn’t be able to do the job you are already employed to do. But if they have been paying you for these 18 months and they feel it is "going on for too long". can they ask this? Where would you stand in this situation?

Before you all ask, no-one can be blamed for the accident or be found to blame. It was just a freak accident that happened – no faulty equipment, inadequate training etc.

If they can do this, where would you go from here?
Ash – thank you for answering sensibly!! What if they are not *willing* to find you a job that you can do? Just that you have to wait for vacancies to come up and apply if you *think* you could do it? And sign a new contract?
This is the UK so not sure whats going on!!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ash May 14, 2010 at 9:53 pm

They can definately bring you back to work doing a different task, in fact most employers are encouraged to do that, but I don’t think they can make you apply to it and pretend like your a new employee. When you get injured and can’t do your own work anymore (temperarily or perminantly) they are supposed to find ‘modified duties’ for you to do. This can be any existing job or a completely made up job for you, as long as the work is ‘meaninful’. That basically just means they can’t tell you to come to work every day and draw pretty pictures, you have to actually be doing something to benifit the company. Companies are motivated to have you back at work too since every day that you are completely off work and at home due to a work place injury there premiums are going up on there insurance policies. So basically, yes they can ask you to do a different job, but no they cannot put you on a probation period while doing it. If it doesn’t work out or you find you can’t do the duties with your injuries they have to find something else for you. I think that if you screw up royally due to something unrelated to your injury they have the same rights to fire you, but it should be a continueing appointment, it shouldn’t be like you just started fresh at this company.

This may vary from area to area, I know for sure this wouldn’t fly where I live. I assume you’ve been in contact with some agency throughout your time off, try contacting them and getting all the information. Where I live you would contact WSIB http://www.wsib.on.ca/wsib/wsibsite.nsf/public/home_e

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