This morning I woke up to read my favorite technology blog website, cnet.com, and saw this headline, “Amazon made this injured warehouse worker sit 10 hours a day doing nothing.” This is a sad example of what I see large employers do all the time. In an ideal world, where the system works the way it is supposed to, an injured worker would be sent to a doctor for an evaluation and treatment. An injury that limits or affects one’s work, or an injury that would be made worse with work, should cause that doctor to write the patient off of work (temporarily totally disabled). This time, called TTD for short, is a time for the employee to heal and get the needed treatment before returning to work.
However, the system is pretty much rigged these days. Medical Provider Networks (MPNs), are under the control of the insurance industry. Many doctors fear being removed from an MPN if they declare an injured worker TTD. So the doctor either returns them to work without any restrictions or declares the injured worker temporarily partially disabled, with certain physical restrictions.
In real life, this does not always work out so nicely. Take a low back injury, for example. The acute pain of a herniated disc may cause problems just getting out of bed. The doctor might say the employee cannot lift over five pounds, but just the act of driving to work is nearly an impossibility. And if the injured workers says, “I can’t [go to work],” they risk losing their jobs (for alleged job abandonment), and it is a near guarantee the insurance company will not be voluntarily paying any temporary disability for the wage losses.
In my opinion (Brian W Freeman), making an injured worker come to work to stare at the wall, or do nothing, is retaliation and discrimination for a work injury. It makes no practical or logical sense. The injured worker should be permitted to stay home, go to the doctor, and heal.
We have written extensively about the working conditions our clients have told us about at the Amazon warehouses. How injuries abound and treatment thereafter is abysmal. This company and other large companies can do better. Treat employees like humans. Take care of them as if they were family, and they will be there to stay in service. Abuse them, and they will leave both hurt and understandably angry.
If you have been hurt while working for Amazon, please contact us for a free consultation.