Q: Can an employer tell an employee not to take a prescription from a work-related injury that says to take "as needed"?
An employee gets hurt on the job, complaining of wrist pain in both wrists, along with numbness and tingling in the left arm. Employer sends the employee to the primary care and gets diagnosed with left shoulder region strain, left pectoralis muscle strain, and parathesia. Employee returns to work with a prescription of Flexeril (muscle relaxer) and says to take "as needed". On the prescription, it says not to drive or work while taking the prescription. The employee returned to work to inform the employer of the situation. Can the employer tell the employee not to take the prescription until after work so that they can finish out the work day? If the employee feels she needs the medication and wants to take it, she would have to take off work due to restrictions of the prescription. Can we, as an employer, tell them not to take it until after they get home? Please explain both stances of if the employer does not feel they need it, as well as if they feel they need it? Thanks!
A: In this case the employee would likely receive something from the doctor, assuming this is a work comp doctor, saying that he/she will need to be off work for a certain amount of time if the pain is too much. My recommendation in this situation would be to have the employee go back to the doctor to see if time off work is necessary. If the employee needs to take the muscle relaxer to get through the day, but it interferes with their ability to perform their duties then they likely need to be allowed off work at the expense of work comp.
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