Companies working to bring injured employees back to work have a resource in the Job Accommodation Network. The non-profit group has free, confidential advice about disability employment and workplace accommodation issues.
By helping employers find creative ways to bring injured employees back into the workforce, JAN saves companies money while helping employees get back to full salaries, according to the network’s website.
The group has consultants who help companies comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act among other laws. JAN also offers self-employment and entrepreneurship resources for people with disabilities.
About 80 percent of the requests JAN receives are from companies looking to retain a current employee after that worker’s ability level has changed because of an accident or illness.
In a recent blog post in the JAN quarterly online newsletter, a case study outlined the obstacles that can make re-entry into a workplace a daunting challenge. In the case study, a man tore his knee at work as an equipment mechanic. When his knee healed he came back to work, but quickly re-injured it. Because his job required him to squat frequently and maneuver around equipment, he was never going to be able to perform his job in the same way as prior to his injury. The company told him to go home and wait for them to figure something out for him (at reduced wages).
The man feared he would never make a living again doing his old job, but he got a call a few days later to find that the company had found a $2,667 hydraulic lift that allowed the man (and his coworkers) to work on the equipment at waist level. This meant that he would be able to continue to earn a living at his previous salary and his coworkers would potentially avoid injuries as well.
JAN applauded the company’s team collaboration. The nonprofit specializes in helping both individuals and companies – from industrial manufacturers to professional services.
Employees who are injured on the job have the right to be compensated for their lost wages, health care and rehabilitation, and the permanent disability caused by their injury. Those employees also have a right to expect their company will make every reasonable effort to accommodate their changed ability status when they come back to work.
That accommodation can come in the form of changing a work site to make it more accessible to the employee. It also can be vocational in nature, helping an employee learn a new skill to match their new physical ability level.
An experienced worker’s compensation attorney can help employees who have been injured on the job to get back to work at the same salary level or better than they had when they were originally injured.
Robert Briskman is a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney and Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.