Union Companies Policy for Injured Employees

UPDATED: Mar 18, 2012

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UPDATED: Mar 18, 2012Fact Checked

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Union Companies Policy for Injured Employees

I have worked in a Teamsters Union Company Truck Shop in TN for a long time. It is clearly written in the company handbook is that there is no light duty and that injured employees must obtain a medical release stating he is 100% before being allowed to return to work. No employee has ever returned to work on light duty-there is no light duty.A week ago, my Company Union Steward left work early because of a back injury. The next day, he returned to work ( clearly injured and in pain) claiming to be on “light duty” due to his back injury. Management has not confirmed or denied his alleged work restrictions. He is the only employee whom has been permitted return to work with restrictions. I’m the Assistant Company Union Steward and the majority of my co-workers have requested we get to the bottom of this matter. Before I approach management, I would like to know if its possible there is some type of legal loop hole that allows his circumstance to be an exception to Union policy?

Asked on March 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


Nancy Wallace / Nancy Wallace Attorney At Law

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In CALIFORNIA -- unless there are specific contract provisions precluding this -- the employer can pick and choose who gets Modified Duty.

Maybe there is a Tennessee Labor Code stopping this there.

In California, the employer's penalty for refusing Modified Work is paying Temporary Disability instead of wages for work.

KEEP IN MIND:   just because one worker CLAIMS to be on Modified Duty / Light Work does not mean there was a physician's order or a special assigment.   People can say anything.   Until you see the physician's orders and the letters from Human Resources detailing the modified duty assignment parameters, assume this guy asked to be sent back to regular work and just tells everyone he got Light Duty!

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