Workers Compensation Extended Time Off
We are a California Employer in the manufacturing industry. We have an employee who has been out of work since June 2023 due to arm pain on the job. He was working as a part detailer, which included cleaning parts, deburring metal, using a grinder, and operating a tumbler.
He visited the WC Occupational Physician and was diagnosed with Tennis Elbow. The doctors ordered him out of work for two weeks for rest and recovery. His return to work accommodations at that point was no lifting with the right hand over 2 pounds. We had plenty of work he was able to do with his left hand and had employees help lift all jobs for him when needed. He worked part-time for a couple of weeks until saying he was still in too much pain. He then visited an Industrial Injury Chiropractor who wrote him out of work for an additional 6 weeks. The last actual doctor's (Chiropractor) note we have says he must stay on "disability" until 12/12/23.
It is now February 2024 and we have not been able to get a hold of the employee to get an update on his status or see if he has any plans to return to work. We just received a letter this week from WC stating that his condition is still not permanent and stationary and plan to make a determination on 4/27/2024.
Do we have a requirement to keep him on as an employee if he is not returning our calls, or if he does not supply an updated work status report / doctor's note? In the meantime, he is also on social media posting videos of him on stage in concert and does not appear to be in any pain. Not sure this is relevant to what we should do with this employee, but any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful.
Thanks for any insights - Sairah