Future Surgery But Asked to Come to Work

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about future surgery and being asked to come to work:

I have rotator cuff surgery coming up next week. I was asked to come to work anyway even though my doctor wrote me out as to not further irritate my shoulder. I was asked to come in and train a new person. I am afraid something will happen while on the manager’s watch knowing I have been written out. Could the manager get in trouble? Could I and be refused medical services?

Signed–Could I

Dear –Could I ?

I referred  your question to Mark Mindell, who has held a Top Human Resources Executive.  He replied: “In terms of the question, I would need to know exactly what “…my doctor wrote me out as to …” means.  Does the employees have a Dr. note indicating he is not to come to work? If so, the answer is simple: he should not come to work regardless and the HR function should want to insure he doesn’t as he becomes a company liability if his manager ‘forces’ him to still be at work.

“On the other hand, and what I suspect, is the Doctor has said to not do anything to irritate the employee’s shoulder.  Unless the employee is arguing he must stay in bed and not move until surgery I would suggest that he comes into work but does nothing that would require undue physical exertion on his shoulder.  

“Finally, I have no idea what the employee’s concern is around his manager and don’t really believe he’s particularly concerned about his manager’s future with the company.  And, again, I have no idea what medical services he would be at risk with nor who would/would not provide these services? …

. . .” As a rule of thumb, though, I would hope an employee would do everything reasonable to meet their employment obligations without putting him/herself at medical risk.”

This advice should guide what you choose to do. We trust your surgery goes well. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

–William Gorden