An In-Depth Look at Return-to-Work Program Challenges: Part I

Written by on 3/6/2017 3:07 AM in , , . It has 1 Comments.

Return-to-work (RTW) programs are well known for their capacity to better manage workcomp insurance expenses and improve injured worker outcomes. However, they’re not all sunshine and daisies. Despite legislative efforts to protect employers from lawsuits regarding regulatory non-compliance, particularly with regard to the ADAAA, there's an array of common mistakes that often land businesses in hot water…

Mistake #1: Assuming State Laws Supersede the ADA
Federal ADA laws always supersede state workers’ comp laws, providing basic protection for disabled individuals. State laws may require more protection in certain areas, but they cannot remove or lessen ADA protections.

Mistake #2: Overlooking Situations in Which Employees are Covered by the ADAAA
The continued expansion of individuals defined as disabled by the ADAAA can greatly increase the number of employees entitled to accommodation. Employers will increasingly have to assess accommodations for workers, whether or not they occurred from personal or workplace injury/illness. Many labor employment attorneys now advise against fighting disabled status in favor of open discussion regarding accommodations. This interactive process is the linchpin of employer obligation under the ADA, with multiple high-profile cases pointing to analysis as integral to showing reasonable accommodation.

Mistake #3: Requiring Injured Workers be Released to “Full Duty” Before RTW
Full duty requirements may rob self-worth and motivation, often overblowing the seriousness of injuries, and increasing the likelihood of “disability syndrome” – failure to return to work after it’s medically possible.

Are you properly structuring your RTW programs to decrease ADA exposure? Manage your workcomp insurance expenses and steer clear of potential pitfalls with the help of Minnesota Comp Advisor. Look for Part 2 of our series on common RTW challenges.



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