Do I Have To Complete A Vocational Interview?
After a work-related injury, your employer may assign you to light-duty work based on your physical ability and the recommendation of your doctor. However, if you are receiving workers' compensation benefits and there is no light-duty work available with your employer, you may be subject to a vocational interview by the workers' compensation insurance carrier. A vocational interview will be scheduled to determine whether or not you have the ability, both physically and vocationally, to return to the workforce in some capacity.
A vocational interview will be scheduled at the request of the employer and will involve a meeting with an individual hired by the employer. The individual who conducts the interview will not be working as your advocate but is working on behalf of your employer to determine if you are employable.
Before giving any statement to any representative of your employer or its insurer, speak to a lawyer about your rights. At Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C., we have more than a century of collective experience guiding injured workers through all stages of the workers' compensation process, including vocational interviews.
The purpose of the vocational interview is to assess:
- Your current medical status
- Your current vocational status
- Your education background
The interviewer will likely appear friendly and helpful, but it is important to remember that they have one job — and it is not to look after your interests. Their job is to put together an informational chart to determine your employability within the physical restrictions provided by the employer's doctor. This evidence is then used to reduce or stop your workers' compensation benefits.
Talk To An Attorney Before Any Interviews
We would suggest, under all circumstances, that an individual does not meet with a vocational interviewer without an experienced workers' compensation attorney present. Things can be said and be interpreted in those interviews that could come back to cause harm to your workers' compensation benefits in the future. You should have your lawyer present during any discussion with any representative of the insurance company and, most importantly, with any rehabilitation counselor during a vocational interview. It is imperative that you have information as to what your rights are before attending these interviews so that your rights are protected.
Labor Market Survey
Following these vocational interviews, the insurance company or the employer will begin the process of looking for employment and the vocational counselor will ultimately be preparing what is called a Labor Market Survey. The Labor Market Survey will include jobs that they believe are within your vocational and medical restrictions. They will be looking for work within a 25- to 30-mile radius of your home.
They will then determine, based upon this interview and the job search, whether there are jobs within your restrictions and your abilities. They will then assess those jobs and determine an estimated wage that you would be able to earn at one or more of those jobs. This will begin the process of the employer attempting to reduce your compensation benefits by alleging that you are employable. Again, it is imperative that you consult an experienced workers' compensation lawyer before the interview, or have an attorney present during the interview.
Let Us Protect Your Rights And Your Compensation
If you have been ordered to complete a vocational interview anywhere in Pennsylvania, the lawyers at Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C., can help. We urge you to contact one of our offices as soon as possible so we can help you prepare and protect your rights during the interview itself.
To arrange your free, complimentary consultation, please call us at 412-567-1232 in Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania, 215-792-6153 in Philadelphia or Eastern Pennsylvania or toll free at 866-466-5789. You may also contact us online.