After suffering a work-related injury, many workers are left wondering what type of employment they can take up afterward. Many worry that their career opportunities have been drastically reduced as a result of their injury. But this isn't necessarily the case – in fact, there may be suitable employment available for you! However, it is important to understand what is considered suitable employment, how it can help you, and what should you do if the suitable employment offered to you does not suit your situation. 

What is Considered Suitable Employment?

What is considered suitable employment? 

Suitable employment generally refers to the types of work or activities you can do safely in order to make money. This means taking into consideration your current health, physical and mental abilities, interests, and qualifications. It also looks at the job market and whether there are suitable jobs available given your skillset, experience, and qualifications.

For instance, a person who has back problems wouldn’t be considered suitable for a job as an assembler which requires long hours of standing or lifting heavy objects. On the other hand, someone with a college degree might be considered suitable for a position in customer service that requires interacting with customers over the phone.

Ultimately, determining what's “suitable” comes down to balancing risk vs reward based on your own unique circumstances and personal preferences. Suitable employment is any employment that fits into those parameters so it allows you to make the most out of life without putting yourself at risk or taking on too much stress.

Can the same employer where you have been injured offer suitable employment?

If you’ve been injured at work, it’s not uncommon to be given work restrictions. Of course, these restrictions are going to limit which jobs you can take on. You may not be ready to return to your old job right away. However, if your employer has an available job within those restrictions, you must go back to work in order to maintain your benefits.

Nonetheless, what if the job your employer offers you is located 50 miles away from where you live? Are you required to make that commute in order to keep your benefits? This situation was called into question in 2012. A man who lived in Tennessee but worked as an iron worker on a construction project in North Carolina suffered a fracture to his lower left leg. He applied for workers’ compensation and began receiving benefits.

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While he was healing, he was given work restrictions. His company had no positions that met his work restrictions in North Carolina; instead they offered him a position in Charleston, South Carolina — more than 50 miles away. Despite the fact that he would have been making equal pay to his old job, he turned this position down. The distance made it unsuitable.

Instead, he started working a number of minimum-wage jobs to compensate. When the insurance company found out, they tried to revoke his workers’ compensation because he had refused suitable employment.

In the end, the court ruled that the man was in the right because the need for the job to be within 50 miles is a requirement rather than a guideline. There is no need to work a job that is an unreasonable distance away.

How do you know if the suitable employment offered by your employer is right for you?

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When it comes to determining if the suitable employment offered is right for you, there are a few key factors to consider. First, you should ask yourself if the job is within your physical capabilities and restrictions. If you have any medical conditions or limitations that could be affected by the job, make sure to discuss them with your employer beforehand.

Second, consider whether the job is in line with your career goals. If the job is not related to your field of study or desired profession, it may not be suitable for you in the long run.

Finally, consider whether the job pays enough to cover your living expenses and other financial obligations. If the salary offered is too low, it may not be worth taking on the job.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if the suitable employment offered is right for you. Make sure to weigh all of your options carefully before making a decision.

If you’ve been injured at work, be sure to contact Oxner + Permar so you can speak with an experienced attorney. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, we have the experience to ensure that your rights are defended.