3061:Workplace of Non-Workplace Injuries or Illness and Return to Work

Reporting Workplace Injuries. Staff members who are injured while performing duties or who witness workplace injuries must report them to the ESU Administrator or ESU Administrator’s designee as soon as possible after being injured or witnessing an injury. Staff members must prepare written statements regarding the injuries they sustained or witnessed when they are asked to do so by the ESU. Failure to report a workplace injury as a witness will constitute insubordination and neglect of duty and may result in adverse employment action up to and including termination or cancellation of employment. Failure to report workplace injuries may also result in delayed or forfeited benefits to which an employee may otherwise be entitled.

Returning to Work after Workplace Injuries or Non-Workplace Injuries or Illness. Staff members whose injuries or illness prevent them from completing any or all of their duties, whether or not incurred at work, may be permitted to continue working or may be offered modified duty positions as required by law or as determined appropriate by the ESU Administrator. This policy does not guarantee a limited or modified assignment during the recovery period unless it is otherwise required by law. The employee may be required to provide a return to work certification or report from their treating physician which delineates any restrictions, modifications, or accommodations needed to allow the employee to perform the essential functions of their position.

Termination After Workplace Injuries or Illness. Unless otherwise covered in an individual employment contract, employees may be terminated after suffering a workplace injury or illness when the ESU has a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for doing so. Such reasons include but are not limited to:

  • Necessity to fill the position to maintain continuous services as required by law or ESU policy or standards;
  • Performance deficiencies of the employee unrelated to the injury or illness;
  • Unavailability of substitute or replacement employees;
  • When the absence will negatively impact students’ educational experience or opportunities; or
  • Any other reason not otherwise prohibited by law.

The ESU may make such employment determinations regardless of whether the employee has returned to work and regardless of whether a medical professional has certified that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement. In the event the injury or illness lasts beyond the amount of leave time provided by the ESU and by the Family Medical Leave Act, which is generally no greater than 12 weeks, the employee may be terminated even if the employee remains eligible for Workers’ Compensation under state law or short or long-term disability under a policy available through the ESU. In no event will an employee be terminated as retaliation for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Termination After Non-Workplace Injuries. Unless otherwise covered in an individual employment contract or prohibited by law, employees who are unable to perform any of the essential functions of their positions with reasonable accommodation(s) due to injury or illness occurring outside of the workplace may be terminated. The employee’s position or a similar position will be held open only as required by law, such as the Family Medical Leave Act.

Adopted on: December 10, 2018
Revised on: ________________
Reviewed on: June 13, 2022