Can I Be Fired For A Bad Back Work Restriction?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about lifting weight restrictio:

I was recently given a 15lb lifting restriction for work. I have been on this restriction for two weeks and they are now telling me that if I can’t get my back fixed and get the restriction lifted by Friday they are going to fire me. Can they do this?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

Whether you can be fired over having a lifting restriction depends upon many factors. You should immediately do some checking to find out more about your rights as well as the rights of your employer in this situation. First, check with your company’s HR section or personnel section, if there is one, to find out your exact status and what policies your company has about work restrictions.After that, if you think your company is in violation of labor laws check with the Department of Labor in your state to see if there are state laws related to situations like yours.Other things that have an effect are: *Is this work related or not? *How much time have you already taken either for sick time or injured time? *Were you already having problems at work?
*If you are doing work that cannot easily be done by other employees, your employer may need to replace you. The nature of your work will make a big difference in those cases. So, the bottom line is that what your employer is threatening to do is probably legal even though it sounds heartless. If you think your back will be treatable and you will be able to return to full work in a few weeks, perhaps a sincere commitment by you will buy that time. You may also want to consider what work you have said you are not able to do because of your lifting restriction. If there is a way to do any of it without harming yourself, perhaps you can show that you are still a good contributor by finding modified ways to get it done. Also, talk to your doctor about the restriction. See if he would write a letter to verify the nature of the problem and to say how long there will be a lifting restriction. That might relive your managers a bit.I’m very sorry this is happening in this way. I can understand how worried you would be! Let your managers know you understand their concerns and that you want to be working fully. They could play a big role in at least going to bat for you if needed. However, research any state regulations or laws that might apply in your specific situation. Best wishes to you, both for your back and your job.

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