What is known as “attachment to the labor market” has been a hot topic in the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law for several years. This is because insurance carriers have attempted to use this defense to suspend benefits in a large number of cases.
In several instances, the employer will offer a light duty position to an injured worker. So long as that job description is within the physical limitations set forth by the worker’s physician, refusal of the job offer can result in suspension of benefits.
Employers are well aware of this fact. They are actually offering the job in hopes that the employee refuses the position. If and when that happens, a hearing is scheduled and a motion made by defense counsel to stop all benefits to the employee. The Workers’ Compensation Law requires that the claimant return to work within their limitation. Refusal to return to work, when work is available within those limitations, will result in suspension.
The best policy is to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer if and when a job is being offered to someone who is currently on workers’ compensation.
There are circumstances where refusing to return to work may be permitted. However, it must be demonstrated that the job is outside of the physical restrictions placed on the worker by his or her physician.
Does Your Employer Have To Offer You A Light Duty Job?
If you have been injured at work and your doctor has released to do a lighter job, your employer is not required to offer you work. Many employers have light duty programs wherein they will offer modified work duties but this is not required by State Law.
Failure to return to work when offered a light duty job may result in suspension of Workers’ Compensation payments. Even if the light duty job offered by your employer is at a lower pay rate or for fewer hours than you are normally used to working at your regular job, you should not refuse that position.
If offered a light duty job, specific action should be taken.
If you have questions regarding any aspect of your New York State Workers’ Compensation claim, please feel free to contact our office to discuss your case.