Can my employer demote me after a work-related injury?

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Can my employer demote me after a work-related injury?

I am 6 months pregnant and had a on the job injury (slipped on something while working). I am a waitress at a restaurant and after this happened, I notified the manager who referred me to a clinic. I was not able to get an X-ray due to the pregnancy but the doctor put me on light duty until we see if I get better in a few weeks. I was told by a manager that with the restrictions the Dr gave me, all he can have me do is roll silverware but the pay is quite low for that position & I’d be making two times less than I used to while waiting. How is this fair when the fall was not my fault but theirs?

Asked on June 28, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, you say it is your employer's "fault," but it's not their fault unless they were negligent, or unreasonably careless--for example, they did not mop of spilled liquid after someone showed it to an employee or an employee otherwise noticed it, and there was a reasonable chance to mop it up. An employer is not at fault simply because of an accident at its location.

Second, an employer is not required to pay an employee to do a job which she cannot do. From what you write, the doctor has put you on some phyical restrictions. If you can't do your old job, your employer is not required to pay you to not do it; the employer could potentially terminate you entirely, if you can't do the job for which you were hired, so giving you a light duty job, even if it pays less, is more than they are required to do.


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