Tag Archives: light duty

I don’t care what you heard on NPR. Walmart isn’t getting rid of greeters.

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A minor uproar ensued a few months ago when outlets like NPR reported Walmart was eliminating the familiar greeter job in 1000 stores.

So it seemed odd when I saw a local competitor of Walmart placing a greeter in a store that I frequent. The person told me they were working a “light duty” job.

Here is why I think more big retailers will be putting in greeters.

I wrote back in 2017 that retailing jobs were becoming heavier and more hazardous because more employees would be involved in delivery work created by online ordering.

But doesn’t the fact that retail jobs are becoming physically more demanding mean that light jobs like greeter will be eliminated?

I don’t believe so. Heavier jobs mean more injuries on the job. More injuries on the job mean employers will be looking to place employees on so-called “light” or alternate duty jobs. More light or alternate duty assignments means injured workers getting placed into light jobs like greeter or other attendant jobs on a temporary basis.

In my experience Walmart accommodates injured employees through something called a Temporary Alternate Duty (TAD) matrix. The TAD matrix is a mix of job light job functions that can be done. The Greeter job is part of that matrix. I doubt that Walmart is going to take Greeter out of their matrix when the alternative would be paying their injured workers temporary total disability.

I learned the term TAD back in 2012 when I deposed a Walmart store manager in central Nebraska. In 2012, there were also press reports that Walmart had eliminated the greeter job. When I asked the Walmart manager about those reports, he was flippant with me In retrospect, he had some grounds to think I asked a stupid question. Walmart didn’t get rid of greeters in 2012 and I doubt they will in 2019. (Walmart has nearly 4,500 stores in the United States. Recent press accounts report Walmart is only eliminating greeters in 1000 stores)

I don’t want to sound dismissive of disabled employees who work as greeters who might have lost their job. But I believe that Walmart shoppers and shoppers of similar stores will continue to see store greeters because that’s how retail employers will accommodate injured employees by placing them into ligther jobs like greeter or attendant jobs.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Nebraska, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , .

Workers’ Compensation Basics: Payments to Workers and their Families

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Here’s the next installment in the firm’s series that focuses on the basics of the workers’ compensation system. It gives information on how payments to injured workers and/or their families are handled. 

Workers’ compensation generally pays by the week, although it may be paid bi-weekly or monthly in some circumstances. The amount of the payment is established by state laws or statutes, regulation or court decision. 

Family members are paid in the event of the death of a worker arising from an accident or disease. Family members are occasionally paid for providing home-health care.     

The amounts paid and duration of payment varies from state to state. Generally there is a minimum and a maximum. The maximum is usually two-thirds of the gross wages earned, with a limit that is adjusted from time to time. 

To calculate the amount actually paid, most states use average wages for a specified number of weeks or months before the injury, death or disease. 

Payments are made for temporary inability to work, which is generally labeled temporary total disability. There may be a waiting period before payments begin. The waiting period varies from state to state. 

Payments are also made when a worker is temporarily limited to light duty and working either fewer hours or for a lower rate of pay. These benefits are called temporary partial disability. 

Payments are made for permanent inability to work and, if severe enough, some states pay for the worker’s lifetime. Some states do not pay for less than lifetime. These benefits are called permanent total disability. 

Payments are made for permanent reduction of the ability to work. This benefit is normally labeled permanent partial disability. 

Payments that are made for loss of body parts or limited use of body parts are also labeled permanent partial disability. State law establishes the value of the various body parts. 

Payments are less frequently paid while workers are participating in retraining or vocational rehabilitation. This is not a common benefit. 

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION DOES NOT PAY FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING. 

It is important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have questions or concerns about any of the information shared here. Please read the previous blog posts in the workers’ compensation basics series by clicking on these links: 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Workers' Comp Basics, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injury and tagged , , , , , .

Is “Light Duty” Really Light Duty?

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One phrase that is thrown around in the world of workers’ compensation is “light duty.” Light duty refers to a job done by an injured worker while they are on work restrictions. However “light duty” isn’t always light duty if the employee physically struggles with doing their light-duty job. To me, light duty can be a misleading description of what injured workers go through when working alternate-duty jobs. Here are three situations where I think the term light duty is misleading.

1. Employee forced to work without restrictions with one limb when the other limb is restricted. This is common in the meatpacking industry with hand, wrist and arm injuries, and I have seen it in construction as well. Employers read work restrictions too literally and force employees to work unrestricted with the uninjured hand or arm. Unfortunately, the result of this is that the other arms or hand can get injured through overcompensation or overuse. This can lead to another and/or a larger workers’ compensation claim, which also leads to more medical expenses, pain, suffering and inconvenience for the injured workers and their families.

2. Doctor-given restrictions do not really reflect true physical restrictions. This can happen for a couple of reasons. One reason is that a doctor might not know the “light duty” job description. To remedy this, the employee needs to be clear about telling the doctor what his or her actual duties are so the doctor can give accurate job restrictions. Having a written job description is extremely helpful. If management makes it difficult for you to get a copy of your job description, this should indicate that you need to contact a lawyer and that the company may be discriminating against you because of your injury. Second, the doctor may be unduly influenced by an employer or insurer. In Nebraska, we have doctor-choice rights as part of our workers’ compensation act. In other states, attorneys have filed RICO suits against unlawful combinations of employers, insurers and doctors who conspired to undercut the value of workers’ compensation claims. If you feel you are being treated unfairly by a doctor, you should contact an experienced attorney to see what your options are.

3. Work restrictions are difficult to measure. Work restrictions are usually measured by lifting and so-called “non-material handling” activities like walking, bending, climbing, etc. This can exclude a whole host of other restrictions, like noise tolerance, heat and cold sensitivity, as well as dust and chemical sensitivity, which can make a job difficult. Some serious restrictions can also defy easy attempts to measure them. Someone suffering the permanent effects of a head injury may get periodic headaches and sickness that force them to leave work on an irregular basis. This kind of restriction is difficult to measure during a medical examination or even in a functional capacity evaluation, but it certainly impacts someone’s ability to hold a job.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in employment law, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injury and tagged , , , .

Transitional ‘Light’ Duty Jobs: What Are They and Do I Have to Take One?

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When injured at work, your doctor may give you work restrictions that prevent you from returning to your regular job. In these situations, there are three things your employer can do:

  1. Tell you that they have no jobs within your restrictions
  2. Give you a transitional duty (or “light duty”) job within your restrictions
  3. Force you to work your regular job in violation of your restrictions

If it’s #3, call a lawyer immediately and inform your doctor that your employer is not following the doctor’s orders.

If it’s #1, you would be taken off work and you would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for temporary disability until you are released back to work or until your employer accommodates your work restrictions.

If it’s #2, it not always clear what the result will be. This “transitional duty” option is when your employer returns you to work but not at your normal job. Instead you are given a different, temporary job while you are on restrictions.

Problems arise with these transitional jobs when your hours are cut, your pay is cut, or you are asked to do a job that is unreasonable. Often, if you refuse to work a transitional duty job that is in your restrictions, you could forfeit your right to obtain work comp payments for temporary disability while you are on those restrictions and off work.

If the transitional duty job that is offered to you cuts your hours, you will probably be entitled to temporary disability payments in an amount to make up (somewhat) for the difference in what you were making before the incident that caused the injury and what you are now making in your transitional job.

Similarly, if your hourly rate or your wages for your transitional job are less than what you would have been earning before you were injured, you would again be entitled to temporary disability payments in an attempt to make up for the shortfall.

Where transitional duty jobs have a gray area is whether they are truly reasonable jobs that are being offered. For example, there are horror stories of employees working in the near dark for 8 hours per day or working in appalling conditions sorting paperclips for transitional duty. Whether or not you have to take a job like these horror stories without forfeiting your right to temporary disability payments depends on the facts of each specific case.

Click the link – it’s about a Walmart guy who had to do “light duty” in the bathroom for 7 hours a day: http://www.aol.com/article/2014/05/27/wal-mart-employee-claims-he-was-forced-to-spend-7-hour-shift-in/20893585/?icid=maing-grid7%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl28%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D481058

Generally speaking, however, if you are offered a transitional job within your restrictions, you should probably take that job unless you have a very good reason that you cannot. For example, in at least one Nebraska case, the court held that even having an employee relocate 300 miles for a temporary transitional job was considered a reasonable job offer. Even transitional jobs that are during different shifts than your normal shift may be considered reasonable. If a job is reasonable and you do not have a good reason for not accepting such a transitional job, you could be denied temporary benefits and be left without any pay at all while attempting to recover from your work injury.

If you have a job that sounds unreasonable, and you are contemplating whether or not you are required to accept such a job, contact a lawyer. An experienced lawyer will be able to give you a good idea of whether turning down such a job would allow your employer to deny you temporary disability payments or not.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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