Pandemic Workers Comp Return To Work Question To Our Article Readers
The tables have turned with me publishing a pandemic workers comp return to work (RTW) question for our great and intelligent audience.
Pandemic Workers Comp Return to Work vs Vaccine Hesitancy
Wikimedia public use license
One of our great agency clients has run into this situation recently. Please feel free to comment with your opinion or call or email me. Any comment will remain completely anonymous. Let us set up the scenario for this unique(?) question. I am combining quite a few scenarios
- An injured employee who was rather devout to his/her employer sustained a compensable Workers Comp claim in 2019 after falling from one level to another. This type of injury can be serious.
- The claimant was given a full-duty return to work slip from the authorized treating physician. This was not an IME. The physician was an industrial-minded renowned orthopedic surgeon.
- The employee is not represented by legal counsel (yet).
- The recovery did take some time to accomplish due to bilateral heel fractures. (ouch!)
- The employer was emboldened by the recent legislation and law changes. They asked the employee to obtain at least one vaccination and then wait two weeks before returning to work. The employer treats their injured employees well while out of work.
- The returning employee refuses to obtain any type of vaccine. This was not a politically motivated decision. They had a bad reaction to a swine flu vaccine in 2010.
- The employer has said they cannot accommodate the employee to work alone as this is a manufacturing plant that stayed in production through the pandemic.
- Workers Comp benefits had been paid timely to the employee. They even remarked that all parties in their claim treated them fairly.
- The injured employee is expecting benefits to be paid weekly until the accommodation can be made for him/her.
- The employer thinks the injured employee’s benefits should be suspended as technically their workers’ comp injury is not preventing them from an RTW.
- The claims adjuster will soon remove the employee from only the weekly TTD benefits. Their claim is still open and payable. A permanency rating is pending.
The agent and employer have asked me to weigh in on how to proceed with the claim. I am not giving legal advice to them. I would be giving workers comp risk management advice only.
What To Do With a Valued Employee’s Claim
I have had two Pfizer jabs. I did not want to let that influence my advice. The swine flu reaction by the injured employee complicates this decision. As I have combined a few claim scenarios, the claim is not state-specific.
Another article will be published or an update to this one after the pandemic workers comp return to work vaccine situation resolves shortly. Let me know what you think.
©J&L Risk Management Inc Copyright Notice