When Ohio workers are injured on the job and claim workers’ compensation, they'll undergo a medical evaluation to determine if they're physically able to do their jobs, given the limitations caused by their injuries.
The workers’ comp doctor provides the employer with a list of the injured employee's restrictions. If the employer can offer a job that meets those restrictions, the worker could have to take it and return to gainful employment.
However, this light-duty job must meet several Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) requirements.
Requirements of Light-Duty Work
To protect workers from being exploited, the BWC requires that employers meet these stipulations when offering light-duty work to employees on Temporary Total Disability:
- Provide a written offer that identifies the position, describes the required duties, and specifies the physical demands of the job.
- Offer suitable employment within “reasonable proximity” of the injured worker’s residence.
- Make the offer “in good faith.”
It's not okay for an employer to simply promise to find something suitable once a person returns to work. It's also not acceptable to require a worker to drive a long distance to another location for light-duty work.
Finally, the light-duty work being offered must be legitimate work. A recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling found that light-duty work consisting of sitting in a cafeteria with nothing to do violated the good faith requirement. State ex rel. Pacheco v. Industrial Commission also agreed with the claimant that the lack of real job duties and sitting in view of other workers in the cafeteria was punitive, and may have been perceived as a warning to other workers to not file for workers’ comp.
An Ohio Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help
If you were offered light-duty work that doesn’t seem right to you, I'd be happy to look at your situation and see if I can help. Fill out the contact form on this page or call my office today to make an appointment in my Upper Arlington office. Meanwhile, request a free copy of my book, The Worker’s Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio.