The workers compensation doctor has released me to return to work with restrictions. Now my employer has created a job for me so I can sit at a desk and come back to work. Are they allowed to do that?
Answer: Yes, under Virginia law, as long as the job is within your restrictions, you are pretty much at the mercy of your employer; however, they are not permitted to ask you to do anything that is demeaning. Now, you need to realize, that this has nothing really to do with your rights in terms of employment law and whether you can be fired. The employer can fire you for just about anything, unless it has to do with discrimination based on Race, Religion, or Sex, or unless you can show the reason for firing is directly related to your making a workers comp claim. If you are fired close to making your comp claim, and you have evidence that is why you were fired, you may have a separate lawsuit against your employer, but you must have independent witnesses who are willing to back you up. Obviously, this is not an easy thing to do. If you are invited to return to an alternate job while you are recuperating for your injuries, you should be on guard for extra scrutiny at work and even some harassment by your employer. The goal is to get your fired and cut off your benefits. Don’t give in. Do everything you can to stay calm and not fall into the trap they are setting for you, which is to get you mad and cursing so you can be fired for insubordination.