You hurt yourself at work, but you keep your job. You can’t do what you did before, so your boss gives you a modified job and you continue to work. But when you returned to work, things have changed. You’re treated differently by your boss and/or supervisor. You don’t feel trusted and you feel disrespected. What happened? Why the change? I see this in my workers compensation law practice all the time.
After work injuries, bosses seem to go from good guy Dr. Jekyll into bad guy Mr. Hyde. The change usually comes in the nature of a bad job offer that you legally have to accept and don’t want to do. Perhaps it seems like a fake offer or setup. Perhaps the offer is insincere but it feels like a punishment because you got hurt; like a demeaning no-duty job. You might feel offended by this behavior because you gave your heart and soul to your employer and all of a sudden, it’s turning its back on you and playing a game.
When injured workers see this bizarre behavior, I explain to my clients that you’re not dealing with the employer itself; you’re dealing with a third party. The workers compensation insurance company calls all the shots relating to everything that happens after a work injury. A workers compensation petition might have your employer on the caption, but the true controversy involves the insurance company. The insurance company makes all the decisions and tells the employer what to do because it pays the judgment, and decides whether to settle or not.
Every insurance policy has a requirement to cooperate with it the insurance company. If it tells the employer to offer a modified job no matter how ridiculous or undesirable, the employer must do it.
The other thing to remember is that your employer runs a business. Workers compensation claims are extremely expensive even with insurance. There can be a huge medical expense, a wage loss expense and, and a disruption in operations. The employer might be a good caring citizen and a nice person, but work injuries can cause a reduction in production and lost profits. So remember, strange behavior which seems insulting isn’t necessarily personal, it’s just business.
If you’ve sustained a work injury and are having trouble with your employer, click the “Request Consultation” button for a free case evaluation.