Return To Work Too Early After Injury Fake Light DutyThe Fake Light-Duty Job

Fake light-duty work is a job that has been inaccurately described to your doctor, who then releases you to perform the work, as described. But guess what? That job does not exist. I can always tell when a client is being set up because the doctor was spoken to without talking to either the injured employee (you) or the attorney (me). If a written job description is not available and a nurse case manager who has never performed the job or been in the plant during the work day says you're fit for work, how accurate can what she said to the doctor be?

How Does An Injured Employee Find Out About The Fake Light-Duty Job?

You received a letter informing the doctor has released you to work "light duty", come on back to the jobsite Monday. The letter provides no job title or description – only be at work on Monday. That is all the notice you get.

Monday comes, you show up for work and only then are you told of the job or where in the department in which you will be working. You have very real doubts that you'll be able to  do the job for eight hours per day, five days in a row. The person who supervisors you knows nothing of your injury, the treatment you are receiving or the surgery you may have had, and,  for privacy reasons, this information is not something they should know. When asked about the light duty, the supervisor shakes his head from side-to-side and says, "Don't ask me."

Where Is The Disconnect With The Employer And The Injured Worker?

Have you ever met a supervisor who can accurately write a job description? Me neither. The supervisor is probably not to blame. To understand the disconnect we need to go back to the conversation between the nurse case manager who told the doctor about your injuries. How did they describe the light-duty job? Did they talk about how many hours you could work or how many pounds you’d have to lift? Did they even consider how many times you would have to bend over, how many times you would be required to lift, bend, twist or squat? The person asking the questions has to be specific and in the case of a light-duty release a written description is key to a successful return to work.

You Need Legal Help

We can help with serious injury cases including those with a back injury, surgery, broken bones, head trauma, CRPS, RSDS as well as several others. Some clients and cases just aren’t the right fit, but, if yours is, we are here to help. Contact us online or call us directly at 515.222.110.


Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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