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

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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