It’s Surprisingly Common—and Not Always Illegal

What happens if you get injured on the job? In Pennsylvania, your employer may offer you a “light duty” position that allows you to keep your pay and benefits while exempting you from physical requirements that could lead to further injury.

When it comes to light duty, both employer and employee are supposed to operate in good faith. While employers are usually not required to offer light duty, if they do, they should offer a legitimate job you can physically do.

Employers sometimes don’t act in good faith when assigning light duty. We’ve handled cases where employees on light duty were given physically strenuous jobs, or were subject to demeaning treatment.

We’ve also seen cases where employees were terminated while on light duty, clearly for pretextual reasons.

When Can Your Employer Fire You While on Light Duty?

If an employer can demonstrate they terminated an employee for a reason unrelated to a light duty request —such as poor performance, bad attendance, or breaking work rules—the termination could be lawful.

However, sometimes employers manufacture justifications for termination simply because they do not want to accommodate a light duty request.

Some signs you were a victim of retaliation—and that your employer was not acting in good faith—include:

  • Your employer set you up to fail by providing a “light duty” job that was still too strenuous.
  • You received negative reviews over trivial infractions while on light duty. Bonus points if your job reviews were usually positive before your injury.
  • You experienced harassment from co-workers when asking them to help you with tasks you couldn’t do on your own.
  • You were put in impossible positions designed to encourage you to break a rule.
  • You were assigned a “no-duty” job that required you to stand or sit in one place all day and do no work.

Retaliation is a serious charge—and the most common one brought in workplace discrimination cases, according to the EEOC.

If you believe your employer retaliated against you for requesting light duty, you need to talk to an employment lawyer.

Got Questions? Ask an Experienced Pennsylvania Employment Lawyer

If you believe you were fired for requesting light duty, don’t wait to talk to an experienced employment lawyer. Get in touch today for a free, confidential consultation at 267-273-1054 or murphy@phillyemploymentlawyer.com.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.