Is it possible for your employer to make you stay at work if you require medical attention? Here’s what you need to know.
Consider the following scenario: you are injured at work and require immediate medical attention, but your boss requires you to finish your work for the day before visiting the doctor’s office. What are your options? Is it possible for your employer to make you stay at work if you require medical attention?
Missouri Law on Getting Medical Care
The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations generally requires employers or their insurers to provide medical treatment and care to an injured employee. This includes all costs for authorized medical treatment, prescriptions, and medical devices.
However, the answer to whether your employer can require that you seek medical care outside working hours isn’t always straightforward. To answer the above question, we have to consider several factors:
This refers to how quickly an employee needs to see a doctor. Take the example where you sustain a deep, ugly cut from the machinery and are bleeding profusely and wailing in pain. In this case, you’ll need urgent medical attention to relieve the pain and stop the bleeding; otherwise, you’ll bleed to death. Other cases like heart attacks obviously cannot wait until after work. These situations require immediate medical attention.
While your employer has every right to tell you when to schedule a doctor’s appointment, they should consider how reasonable it is to deny permission during work hours. They should also consider family obligations such as daycare or nursing an elderly or ailing person that may make it impossible for you to visit a doctor after work.
“What If My Employer Denies Me the Right to Seek Medical Attention?”
According to OSHA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against injured workers. Instead, they should help them access immediate medical care to allow the doctor to assess the severity of their injuries and determine whether the employee is in a position to perform specific tasks.
What’s more, your employer should not punish you in any way for taking some time off to seek medical treatment.
If your employer forces you to work while sick/ injured or denies you the chance to seek urgent medical attention, you may need to file a charge with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for workplace protection. After filing your charge, OSHA will likely launch an investigation and bring an enforcement action against a non-compliant employer.
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