Many injured workers I speak with do not know that there is a section of the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act that assists injured workers to return to work for the employer they were working with when they were injured on the job. It's Section 52-1-50.1 of Workers' Compensation Act.
I wrote about this section on my website at Returning to work after a work injury . Please click on the link to see what I wrote.
In short, the employer of an injured worker has to re-employ the worker if the injured worker can prove the following:
- The employer is hiring;
- The injured worker's pre-injury job is available or modified work is available, OR the employer has another job is open and available;
- The injured worker's treating doctor certifies that the injured worker can do the available (a written statement is best);
- The injured worker is otherwise qualified to do the open job;
- The injured worker applies for the job.
A Workers' Compensation Judge can enforce Section 52-1-50.1 and order an employer to rehire an injured worker if he or she meets the requirements.
If you try to use Section 52-1-50.1 to return to work for the employer, you must keep copies of all job postings you applied, the job applications, and any emails or correspondence from the employer regarding your applications.
If the employer refuses to re-hire you do not give up. Filing a complaint to enforce Section 52-1-50.1 is often successful.