Many people have the mistaken impression that their jobs remain secure after they have been injured or diseased as a result of their employment. In most cases, however, that simply is not true.
Ohio Revised Code 4123.90 provides in pertinent part that “No employer shall discharge, demote, reassign, or take any punitive action against any employee because the employee filed a claim or instituted, pursued or testified in any proceedings under the workers’ compensation act for an injury or occupational disease which occurred in the course of and arising out of his employment with that employer”.
Unfortunately, the courts have limited that section to situations where the employer attempts retaliatory action against the employee for pursuing his/her rights to pursue a claim and specifically have not extended these protections to situations where the employee has restrictions or limitations that preclude unrestricted return to the workplace – either temporarily or permanently.
In reality, there is nothing in the Ohio Workers’ Compensation statutes that requires an employer to maintain a job or provide a modified or restricted job for an employee simply because s/he had the misfortune of being injured or diseased on the job. Similarly, there is nothing in the Workers’ Compensation law that requires an employer to maintain group insurance coverage for an employee when s/he is out of the workforce due to a work related disability.
There may be situations when other protections are available. Where the employee is a member of a union, oftentimes the collective bargaining agreement may provide bargained-for job securities that are not otherwise available in the law. Also, if covered under the provisions of the the federal Family Medical Leave Act, the employee’s job and his/her insurance coverages need to be continued for a period of twelve weeks during a twelve month period. Finally, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act may, in limited situations, provide certain workplace protections from discrimination and require certain forms or workplace accommodation.
Obviously, this post is not intended to be an all-inclusive recitation of remedies that apply in all cases. The availability of recourse may be specific to the facts in your case. It’s always wise to seek the advice of an experienced professional and to know that strict time limits for pursuing available remedies often apply.