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Every month, a reader asks one of our sponsor legal experts about a work-related issue. These building trades law professionals respond in an Organized Labor exclusive. This month’s expert is Jonathan Davis of the Arns Law Firm. Ask Jonathan a question at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit The Arns Law Firm website.

Modified Duty: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I was injured on my construction job and the clinic doctor put me on modified duty.  Usually there is no modified duty for construction, do I have to report to work?

Modified duty can be great because you can get full pay and benefits while you recover from your injury. However, employers may want to get rid of  responsibility for an injured worker.  If you are offered modified duty, you have to report to work or you could lose to lose your job and the right to workers’ compensation benefits.  Be careful, the employer may look for the slightest violations of company policy to fire you and get out of paying benefits.  Also, if the company representative tells your doctor you are working with no limitations -- but does not make clear you are doing “light work” -- the doctor could release you to full duty!  Then you can be laid off but denied any benefits even though you are still injured. 

It is important to understand the pitfalls of Modified Work, including how to stay with the program when the work is unreasonable.  If you are offered modified duty, make sure to contact someone and understand all of your rights and obligations.

-Jonathan Davis, Founder of The Arns Law Firm, San Francisco, CA
Ask Jonathan a question at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on work-site accidents and
your legal options, visit the ARNS Website.

“Interaction via “Ask the Expert” does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any advice given is neither legal advice nor does it serve as a replacement for hiring an attorney. In addition, any case results mentioned or discussed are not guarantees of similar results.”


Jonathan Davis

This Month's Expert; Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has dedicated his working life to representing working people. Prior to becoming an attorney, he was an International Representative and National Field Director for the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union. After representing workers in arbitrations throughout the West, Jonathan joined The Arns Law Firm and dedicates himself to representing injured workers and their families devastated by catastrophic injuries as well wage and hour and consumer class actions. Jonathan is bilingual in Spanish and is past Chairman of the non-profit affordable housing organization the African American Construction Workers Association (AACWA). Jonathan currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Local 261 Community Service and Training Foundation and is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Consumer Attorneys of California.

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