I want to work, but there are some things I can’t do. The doctor cleared me for light duty. If I Have a Work Restriction, What kind of jobs do I look for?
Employers are going to be hesitant to hire somebody if they know they’ve already been hurt and have restrictions – Kevin Jones
What is a Reasonable Accommodation?
- Reasonable Physical Changes of Workplace / Environment
- Accessible Facilities
- Mechanical Aids
- Reasonable Changes to Duties
Modified Transcript of “If I Have a Work Restriction, What Kind of Jobs Do I Look For?” for the Hearing Impaired
Hello, I’m Kevin Jones, the Worker’s Comp Specialist with the Dodge Jones Injury Law Firm. We’re an Eastern North Carolina firm with offices in New Bern, Jacksonville, Greenwood, Morehead City, and Beaufort. I’m here right now to talk to you about some frequently asked questions.
One of the questions that I get is:
Do I have to apply for jobs that are outside my work restrictions? If I Have a Work Restriction, What Kind of Jobs Do I Look For?
This is when the person is injured to such a degree that they end up with permanent restrictions, they can’t go back to doing their old job. They can’t go back to doing what they’ve always done, and the employer has already let them go, or indicated in some fashion that there’s no work available that would be suitable, that would be a real job that they could do.
The person is continuing to receive disability benefits, temporary total disability benefits, and they are assigned a vocational rehabilitation counselor to help them find a job.
This is where it gets extremely difficult because of the nature of things like the American’s With Disabilities Act, and reasonable accommodations, and what the job description says or doesn’t say in the particular job. It’s not as simple as, if it’s outside the restrictions, you just don’t have to apply for it.
You may very well need to apply for it. It may be that the employer needs to be given the opportunity to give reasonable accommodation after you have conditionally accepted a job, and then they ask you about your work restrictions, and they you disclose them, and then they are given the opportunity to make an accommodation. Or to let you know, “No, we’re sorry we didn’t realize you had those restrictions, so we’re not going to be able to hire you after all.”
How you navigate that job search can be very tough. Employers are going to be hesitant to hire somebody if they know they’ve already been hurt and if they know they’ve got restrictions.
There’s a relatively new law that talks about failure to disclose prior injuries. If you were to suffer another injury to that same body part in the new job, you can be denied from receiving worker’s comp because of that failure to disclose it. It takes a lot of interaction between you, and your attorney, and the vocational counselor, to make sure that what that vocational person is correct, that the advice they’re giving is correct, and that what you’re telling prospective employers is correct, but yet without what’s called sabotaging the job search.
These are tough questions. They’re very difficult to navigate. If you are in that situation, you may very well need legal representation in order to be able to get through it without putting yourself in jeopardy of either losing your benefits or losing the prospective job that you really wanted to get. If you have questions, call us. I’m happy to sit down and talk with you about it.