Accommodating non work related injuries
I was told by HR later that when it was a work-related injury they do accommodate light duty. EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following informal discussion letter in response to an inquiry from a member of the public. The ADA defines "disability" as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. Of course, if such a light duty position becomes a permanent position after the employee for whom it was created no longer occupies it, the employer must consider reassigning an employee with a non-work-related disability to it as a reasonable accommodation in accordance with the principles set forth above.
When Hyatt refused to offer light duty, James sued.
Under the ADA, the employer does not have to create a new position or excuse the employee from performing essential job functions, but having the employer offer available light-duty work may allow the employee to continue working rather than taking time off.
Q: Must employers pay an exempt employee the same wages when he or she is on light duty?
Two common approaches I encounter are a) The one size fits all approach of ‘stay away until you are recovered, and b) the ‘you can come back to work when you have a clearance’ approach.
Approach a) fails to recognize that in many cases employees with injuries and illnesses can safely return to work performing modified or suitable duties, and approach b) is particularly problematic in that it often results in employees who are quite clearly restricted from performing their usual duties presenting at work exactly as per the request- with a clearance.
Search for accommodating non work related injuries:
Many employers use temporary light duty assignments to enable ill or injured employees to return to work before they are fully healed.