Workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines understand that returning to work after a workplace accident can be difficult. However, you have the right to request reasonable accommodations to make your return to work easier.
If you aren’t sure what this means, keep reading. Our Atlanta workers’ comp attorneys are ready to help you get the accommodations you deserve, no matter the situation you are in.
Understanding the Reasonable Accommodation Laws in Georgia
Atlanta workers suffer injuries at work every day. If you experience an injury at work, you will likely be away from your job while you recover. However, at some point, your doctor will release you to return to work. Unfortunately, getting back to work isn’t as simple as it may seem. Sometimes, you may require reasonable accommodations to perform your job duties after an at-work injury.
In other cases, you may be able to go back to work, but in a reduced capacity than what they did before they were injured. These are challenges that are difficult for injured workers.
What Are Reasonable Accommodations?
When you experience an on-the-job injury in Atlanta and reach an adequate level of recovery so you can go back to work, your employer has the responsibility of making reasonable accommodations. This is required based on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
If you are returning to work and have suffered a mental or physical impairment that limits your ability to do your job, then you will likely be able to receive the accommodations needed based on the Americans with Disabilities Act. If this is the case, you will likely be provided with reasonable workplace accommodations.
One example is if you are injured while working and receive workers’ compensation during your recovery. You may be able to go back to work, but still, be dealing with a partial disability or unable to do the same job you did before your workplace injury or accident.
Since you can return to work but are not as capable of doing your job after an injury, your employer must provide reasonable accommodations to ensure you can do a job you are capable of. Your employer can assist you in performing your job by providing you with reasonable accommodations.
Reasonable accommodations can mean different things for different situations. Your needs and ability will determine what type of accommodations you need. Some common reasonable accommodations provided include (but aren’t limited to):
- Providing assistive technology or auxiliary services or aids like note-takers, TTY service for telephone use, transcribers, translators, or interpreters.
- Modify your workspace to make it more accessible based on your injury or limitation.
- Restructuring of your job so you can perform the duties required.
- Provide reasonable modifications to workplace policies or rules to accommodate your abilities, like adjusting an exam time or modifying the review criteria used.
- Providing a flexible or part-time work schedule.
- Providing a reassignment to an alternate position that is available with the company.
- Providing special devices or equipment to ensure job duties can be performed.
- Providing qualified interpreters or readers.
To receive reasonable accommodations, you must request this from your employer. Most employers will have some type of form for you to complete and turn in. Usually, reasonable accommodations will be granted by an employer as long as they are truly reasonable requests. If an accommodation would put an undue hardship on the employer, they do not have to grant it.
Benefits Offered to Workers Going Back to Work in a Reduced Capacity
Sometimes, it’s possible to return to work after being injured. However, you may be released by your doctor to work in a “reduced capacity” compared to what you did prior to your injury. In most cases, this new position will result in a pay cut, which can be detrimental to your financial situation. If this happens, it may be possible to recover more benefits through workers’ compensation for the pay you are not receiving.
Few people plan on being injured at work. When this type of situation occurs, making a full recovery can be challenging and stressful. It can also be a fight to get the benefits you deserve from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Even if you are ready to return to work after an injury, you may not be able to handle the same job you did pre-workplace injury.
If you experienced an injury while at work and received workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical costs and lost wages, and your doctor approved your return to work in a reduced capacity, it’s smart to get in touch with our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys.
You may be entitled to receive reduced earning benefits, and the workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines are ready to help you receive the benefits you deserve.
What Is an Undue Hardship?
If your accommodation request causes an undue hardship, your employer is not required to grant it. The term “undue hardship” means that it would cause significant expense or difficulty to your employer. For your employer to prove undue hardship, they must show the requested accommodation would cause more than financial issues. They would have to prove that it is disruptive, substantial, or extensive to the business and would alter operations fundamentally.
It’s not easy to prove all these things. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) is the agency tasked with enforcing ADA requirements. However, if you take the situation to court, factors like your employer’s deductions, tax credits, and your contribution to covering the costs may be considered.
What if Your Employer Penalizes You for an on-the-job Injury?
Once you file a workers’ compensation claim, you may look forward to the day you can go back to work. Being off work is usually boring for people who are used to having a job to do every day. Chances are, you want to return to work to feel productive again.
While federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to injured workers as long as undue hardship doesn’t occur, it doesn’t always happen. Also, retaliation is illegal; however, many employers will still discriminate. You may discover that your employer agrees to the requested accommodations but fails to implement changes that will make your job easier.
In some situations, you may be demoted, receive fewer hours, or even receive reprimands for worse or slower performance, even if a workplace injury caused this. If you are a victim of retaliation after you report a workplace injury, you may be able to file a discrimination claim against your employer. At this point, get in touch with our workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines.
Get In Touch With Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Help with Your Situation
When it comes to reasonable accommodations after a workplace accident and injury, you need to know your rights. Our legal team is ready to help you file a claim and receive the accommodations you deserve.
At the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines, we will also work to ensure that you get all the benefits you deserve after a workplace accident. We encourage you to contact us right away after being injured. This will ensure that you get the representation you deserve and receive fair compensation for your injury and situation.
Our goal is to represent injured workers and ensure they get the compensation deserved. Let us help with your case. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.