The Flint Journal & Genesee County Bar Association’s “Ask the Attorney” Column
By Attorneys at MACDONALD & MACDONALD PLLC
Q. I was injured at work and can no longer perform my job. My employer’s workers’ compensation carrier has recently paid another entity to offer me work instead of paying me workers’ comp benefits. This entity’s representative wants to come to my house and have me submit to drugtesting, fingerprinting, and sign dozens of documents which releases it from all claims, forces me to keep its actions confidential, and gives it access to my personal and bank records. Is this right?
A. Under Michigan’s workers’ compensation law, you must accept a bona fide job offer reasonably close to your home within your physical restrictions, unless you have good cause to refuse it. Is this a bona fide job? It sounds instead like this entity is posing as an interested employer and acting as a shill for the workers’ comp carrier as a way to illegally harass you. Unfortunately some insurance companies are engaging in these sort of shenanigans to avoid their responsibilities. You may also have good cause to refuse this so-called “job” if there are unreasonable conditions attached to the “job offer.” A workers’ compensation magistrate is empowered to decide whether you have been offered a bona fide job and whether you reasonably refused it. The circuit court is empowered to decide whether these companies are illegally harassing you and/or retaliating against you for exercising your rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act. I strongly recommend that you seek legal representation and counsel immediately to protect your rights.
Attorney Robert J. MacDonald