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No obligation to create indefinite light-duty job

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

You don’t have to create permanent light-duty work for injured workers.

Recent case: Bruce fell 25 feet from a utility pole while working as an electrical lineman. After several operations, Bruce returned to work using a wheelchair. His em­­ployer assigned him to do dispatch work. The company had a policy that allowed employees six weeks at full pay if they were unable to perform their regular jobs for any reason.

Bruce was terminated after six weeks and sued, alleging retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. He argued he should have been allowed to keep the light-duty position.

But the court rejected his claim. It reasoned that employers can terminate employees under such a policy as long as they apply it uniformly. (Adams v. Oncor Electric, No. 05-11-00618, Court of Appeals of Texas, 5th District, 2012)

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