Case Study : Workers' Compensation

Can you be compensated for loss of overtime hours?

CNA Gets Back Pay On Overtime

Sarah tore her rotator cuff while working with patients at a local hospital. As a CNA she needed full use of her arms to move patients. Prior to her injury she had a high hourly wage and received a lot of overtime hours.

Sarah underwent two surgeries to repair her shoulder. These were modestly successful and Sarah was returned to work with a ten-pound restrictions on lifting, pushing, or pulling. As anyone who has ever done hospital work knows, many patients are incapable of moving themselves. They cannot help the nurse in any way.

When Sarah returned to work two things happened. First, the hospital quit giving her overtime. Second, her co-workers asked her to do things which were out of her restrictions. When Sarah declined her boss wrote her up – creating a paper trail which made it look like Sarah was a mediocre employee.

We Intervened

Right off the bat we were able to get Sarah paid for the loss of her overtime hours. It is critical that your average weekly wage is correctly calculated. In Sarah’s case, as is the case for many, many of our employees, it was based only on a 40-hour week. So we had it corrected to include overtime and secured for Sarah a nice check for back pay.

The next thing we did was to issue a set of written questions to be answered by Sarah’s employer regarding requests for her to work outside her restrictions. This put the employer on notice that we had Sarah’s back and were watching their every move. Almost immediately the requests ceased.

The hospital came to us and asked if we could talk settlement. After a discussion with Sarah and her family it seemed like this was her best option. The hospital really didn’t have a position for a CNA with restrictions like Sarah’s. And Sarah wasn’t enjoying going to work everyday and not being able to participate in the patient care.

In the end we were able to reach a settlement which compensated Sarah very well for her loss. And when the dust settled Sarah was able to find a home health job which let her work with patients – which she loved doing – but be able to limit her work to that within her restrictions. This was a definite win for Sarah.

What can happen when your employer doesn’t really have work within your restrictions? Should you be compensated for the loss of your overtime hours? If you return to work but get fewer hours are you entitled to be paid? What do you do if it looks like your employer is setting you up to get fired?

Lessons to be Applied….

  • Your average weekly wage includes all of your bonuses and overtime hours.
  • If you are incapable of earning as much after the injury as you were before you get two-thirds of that wage loss. This is called temporary partial disability.
  • You get temporary partial disability even in situations where you can do your forty-hour week but the employer doesn’t give overtime to people on workers compensation.
  • It is often in an injured workers’ best interests to settle their case and move to a different employer where they can get a fresh start.