Louisiana workers who suffer a workplace injury that they eventually will improve from sufficiently to get back to work might face the problem of being able to work, but not being able to do the job they did before. While workers’ compensation benefits are in place to help the injured, people who have lost wages and need medical treatment, it is important to know what rights a worker has when trying to get back to work for the former employer and what alternatives are available in this situation.
Employers are not obligated to keep a job open for an injured worker who is getting workers’ compensation benefits if that worker cannot do the job. Nor do they need to find a new job specifically for that person. However, it is against the law for the employer to dismiss an employee just because a workers’ compensation claim has been filed.
Depending on the situation, a worker might be able to get vocational rehabilitation if the worker does not need significant retraining to do the same or a similar job. This comes into play when a worker cannot earn the same wages as before. The idea is to get the worker back on the job with minimal retraining. The employer will find a vocational rehabilitation counselor to help in the process. There are several choices the employer will have when the employee is ready to come back to work. They are: give the worker the same job as before; give the worker a different job; or give the worker a job that fits in with his or her skills and education.
While vocational rehabilitation options for workers who can do the same or a similar job are useful, that does not mean the employer will strictly adhere to the law and give the worker the opportunities that are supposed to be provided. If there are any issues with workers’ compensation benefits in this vein or with any other circumstance, a law firm experienced in these issues can help.