Oh man, did a recent call I had with an injured worker make my blood boil! I get so pissed off by insurance companies and employers who do things that are blatantly illegal.
In this case, a worker got a terrible arm injury that required more than 50 stitches when they were pinned against a wall by a forklift. What happened next was I was told of three things that their boss said that are blatantly illegal/wrong.
1. The boss said no work comp because they should have jumped out of the way.
2. When presented with an off work slip from the doctor, the boss said they would get fired if they didn’t get back to work soon.
3. When the worker said that they should listen to their doctor, the boss told them to “Man up” and get back to work.
First off, Illinois is a no fault law when it comes to work comp. So the fact that this worker didn’t jump out of the way is irrelevant. Not to mention that their back was turned and the person driving the forklift had been on the job a short time and wasn’t properly trained.
Second, it’s incredibly illegal to fire someone for not getting back to work soon after you are hurt when a doctor takes you off work. The way this boss did it, if they did fire the worker, I think there would be a significant, high dollar lawsuit for wrongful termination.
And finally, you should never “man up” because someone else wants you to. It’s in their interests, not yours. And in this case, if the worker did go back to the job, they’d be highly susceptible to a terrible infection. They work in an area with a lot of dust and debris and they had more than 50 stitches. If that wound gets infected, it could cause all sorts of problems which could lead to them being off work for an even longer period and even put themselves at the risk of amputation or death from sepsis.
I see these “man up” statements a lot when it comes to people with back injuries. They get sent back to work with lifting restrictions. For the most part those restrictions get followed, but at some point the boss man needs help lifting something and tells their injured employee to man up and help out.
These tough talk guys are big phonies and usually the ones that whine the most when something is wrong with them. They are the fakest of tough guys and often terrible people that don’t care about others. They think they are the smartest guy in the room always. You know the type.
The good news is that the law is very clearly on your side. A good attorney can protect you through this process. If you ignore your doctor’s restrictions, you put your health and also your work comp case at risk. I can’t encourage you enough to think long term. I know people are worried about losing their job, but a good lawyer can help you document things properly and make sure that a year from now you don’t have regrets.
If you’d like a free consultation about an Illinois work injury, call us any time at 312-346-5578.