"Serving those who serve in government"
Call now for a free consultation 888-351-0424

Work injury accommodation best done with your input

Some federal jobs are more dangerous than others. All of them carry risks. When workplace injuries do occur, the first priority is getting necessary care and obtaining the benefits that are due under applicable workers’ compensation law. Clearing that hurdle isn’t something an injured worker should have to attempt alone. Support of an experienced attorney can help.

Presuming the benefits challenge is met, the next step, hopefully, is getting the employee back to work — even if it’s in some restricted capacity. Obviously, this requires management to make some determinations about what accommodations are feasible. But as one recent legal case shows, it’s not a decision the boss can make unilaterally. The injured worker deserves to have a say on what happens, as well.

The matter involves a Department of Natural Resources worker in Iowa who was terminated from his job. According to the record, he suffered a back injury in 2011 and took a leave of absence. He returned to work at the start of 2012 on light duty and gradually resumed most of his old tasks, though he required help from co-workers for heavier lifting.

Nine months after his return, the DNR ordered functional capacity checks on the worker. Workers’ compensation administrators drew up a list of suggested restrictions, including a ban on squatting, and asked if the DNR could accommodate them. The agency consulted with human resources, legal and other advisers, and the worker’s supervisor, but never the worker himself. In the end, the agency said the accommodations represented an undue hardship and fired the worker.

He sued and a jury found that the DNR had discriminated against him on the basis of disability. It awarded him $900,000. The decision was also upheld on appeal. The appeals court said the law obliges employers to actively engage with the claimant when making these kinds of decisions, even if it’s inconvenient, and that the DNR failed to do that.

Though this case involves a state government worker, the elements of the case reflect issues that may apply at the federal level. It depends on the circumstances of a given case. As such, it reinforces that the protection of worker rights is served by working with an experienced attorney.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
American Bar Association Logo Best Attorneys Online Logo Elite Lawyers 2017 Logo Lead Counsel Rated Logo The New York Times Logo Avvo Rating 9.7 Logo State Bar of Texas Logo

We Understand That Your Federal Career Is On The Line
We offer a free consultation, and our fee structures are designed to meet your needs.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business.

Back To Top