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Employment Law/Returning to work.


Hello Margaret; My question is I am returning to work after being off work for 2 months on short term disability. We have a 26 week short term disability agreement and well over 50 employees in the one building I work at. The company is a 19 billion dollar company with many employees in the Edmonton and Nisku area alone.
I had been in a car accident and suffered severe whiplash in my private vehicle. I did settle with the insurance company for compensation but the pain did neither cease nor the headaches stop. My family doctor has sent me to a rheumatologist that states that I am most likely suffering from fibromyalgia.
Anyway the question I wish to ask is I was the companyís driver and after I have received a doctorís note to return to my driving position. I have been told my position has been filled and I will be returning to some type of warehouse duties. I have some restriction in my functional abilities form so I asked them to present me with a new job title before I agree to return to work which is this coming Monday.
1)Can I refuse the work offered and tell them I will need to be reassessed by my family doctor for a change of vocation.
2)Didnít they have to hold my position open in Alberta for a period of time before filling that position?
If I have any type of case how would I proceed to fight this with an attorney?

Bruce - Sorry for the delay, your question came in over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Here is a site for the general rule under Canadian national law:

I do not know what type of employer you work for, and so cannot say whether it is covered by national standards or regional laws.  I found nothing in Alberta labour laws giving you a right to return to your former position.  

If your doctor said you could return to work, you have no justification for refusing.  Negotiating for a more suitable job can be done while working, unless there are medical reasons for not accepting the particular job, which would require a physician's support. You should discuss your physical limitations with your employer and your doctor.  See what happens, and write again if you want to pursue additional measures.

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Margaret M. deMarteleire


I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.


Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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