Employment Accommodations Following Disability
The Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) was enacted on July 26, 1990, with the goal of making American society more accessible for people with disabilities. One goal of accessibility was to provide protection for employees and job applicants who have permanent disabilities, while balancing the rights of disabled workers with the right of the employer to have their employees be productive members of the work force. To that end, the ADA imposes upon employers the obligation to retain or hire disabled persons with “reasonable accommodations.” Accommodations are “reasonable” so long as they can be implemented without significant burden or expense and without undue hardship. (More precise definitions under the ADA and the regulations promulgated thereunder may be found in JAN’s “ADA Library” or by consulting with one of Casper & de Toledo’s employment lawyers.
Given the sizeable number of disabled clients we have at Casper & de Toledo, we wanted to provide a resource for our client, family members and health care providers to reference in contemplation of returning to work. It isn’t always easy to identify the types of accommodations that will facilitate or enhance the employability of someone with a permanent injury.
Job Accommodations Network
The Job Accommodation Network (“JAN”) is such a resource. Here are links that to some of the disabilities that we see often in our practice and lists of the types of accommodations that might help support the employability of someone with a disability (a full alphabetical list from the JAN site can be found here):
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Back injury
- Burn injury
- Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (“CRPS”)
- Chronic pain
- Leg injury (including hip injury, knee injury, ankle injury & foot injury
- Migraine headaches
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Vertigo (dizziness)
- Vision impairment
Some employers will be pleased to assist with your “reasonable accommodation” request. Others may be less willing and may need urging with the support of documentation from one or more of your health care providers. Recalcitrant employers might need even more coaxing from a lawyer, or the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (“EEOC”), or the state agency charged with the initial responsibility to investigate a complaint. In Connecticut, that agency is the CHRO – Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
In the context of injury claims, we believe it is important to try to return to as much productivity as possible after sustaining an injury. If you had a job at the time of your injury, we think your chance of persuading your employer to make a reasonable accommodation for you is greater than if you are looking for a new job. That is particularly true if you were well regarded by your employer before your injury.
We Are Here To Help
For questions concerning return to work, your rights under the ADA, and how you should pursue a search for a new job, you can speak to your lawyer, your health care provider and a vocational counselor. For any other questions, please contact our Law Office in Connecticut, or call us at (203) 325-8600.
By Stewart Casper. Posted August 29, 2016.