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Does my employer have to take me back once I am certified as able to work?

When you are injured on the job, the worker's compensation system helps get you medical treatment, therapy, and medicine that you need to get better and return to work. But once you're better, will you still have a job?

In West Virginia, an injured worker's position is protected under worker's compensation laws. This means that once the employee has been certified by their physician as able to work, they may either return to their previous position, a comparable one, or the first available position they are qualified for.

It works like this: If your old job is still available, you return to work. If your previous position is not available, your employer must reinstate you to a comparable position. In the law, a comparable position means a position with similar wages, working conditions, and duties as the one you were employed in when you were injured. If neither your previous position or a comparable one is available, then you get right of first refusal to the next available position that opens up that you are capable of doing. You have this right of first refusal for one year after you are ready to return to work.

Your employer may have additional details of the company's return to work policy following an injury in the employee manual. If you were not given one or your company does not have one, talk to a professional in HR about what happens when you are ready to go back to work after your injury.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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