Return to Work Procedure

Sonoma State University is committed to preventing injury and illness through providing a safe and healthy working environment. Employees should be informed of their rights and obligations regarding return-to-work and workers' compensation. For detailed information regarding return to work, refer to Sonoma State University’s Return to Work Program. It is in the University's interest to provide the employees with clear information to avoid misunderstanding and uncertainty. Open communication encourages cooperation and participation in the return-to-work process.

The injured/ill employee is required to provide the doctor's release to duty form to his/her immediate supervisor prior to returning to work or within 24 hours after returning to work. Sonoma State University's Return to Work procedures outline a plan of action common to all workers through early notification by the doctor to return the injured/ill employee to normal or modified work. The University defines "modified work" as temporary assignments within an employee's abilities, knowledge, and skills. These positions are developed using the employee's abilities/restrictions as determined by the employee's treating physician. They may also include responsibilities and tasks taken from the employee's regular job, when the employee cannot perform full duties or work a full day.

The prospect for return-to-work is greatest when the process commences as soon as possible after and injury/illness occurs. Priority should be given to an early, safe return to suitable duties following injury or illness, in a manner that takes account of all relevant factors.

The following steps will be followed when an employee is medically certified to be off work or if work restrictions are unable to be accommodated due to a work-related injury or illness:

  1. The supervisor and injured/ill employee will follow the University’s Workers’ Compensation Process for the work related injury.
  2. The Medical Doctor may provide work related restrictions. The supervisor will determine if the work restrictions can or cannot be accommodated.
  3. If the department is able to accommodate the restrictions, the employee will be notified that he/she may return to work. A meeting including the injured/ill employee, the employee's immediate supervisor, and Workers' Compensation Coordinator might be held to discuss the modified work and ensure that all questions are answered.
  4. If the department is unable to accommodate the restrictions, the employee will be notified that he/she may not return to work at this time. The supervisor will be asked to complete the DWC – AD 10133.33 form to provide an accurate description of the employee’s job duties.
  5. The completed DWC – AD 10133.33 form will be provided to the treating Medical Doctor for review.
  6. Upon receiving updated work restrictions, an interactive meeting may be scheduled with the employee and supervisor to determine if employee can return to work with modifications.
  7. The work restrictions and the modified job assignment will be reviewed on a regular basis.