Short answer: because they can.
Long answer: many employers and insurance adjusters are obsessed with the idea that injured workers are slackers who want to sit home and watch daytime television. We’ve met about three such workers and thousands who just wanted to get better and back to work they could safely do without further injuring themselves or their co-workers.
Prior to 2011 an injured worker could only be required to perform a real job – one which could be offered to anyone – while they were recovering from an injury. With a little lobbying from the big business and insurance companies, Gov. Pat McCrory initiated a massive overhaul of the workers compensation system, which, among other things, required that injured workers remain on their company’s premises if so requested.
Honestly we have a hard time seeing the point of this… if you’re employer is paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums in order to compensate you while you cannot do your job why should they want to bring you to the office or plant, plop you in a chair, and pay you full pay for sitting around doing nothing. Nevertheless it’s the new law.