A workplace injury can mean going weeks without income and needing medical care and rest to recover. If you hurt your hands, arms, legs, back or shoulders, you may have a hard time performing the job that your employer pays you to do, which means time off of work in many cases.
Workers’ compensation benefits will replace a portion of your wages during your recovery, but they can leave a significant gap in your budget. Being able to go back to work, even while you’re still healing, can be beneficial financially. In order to make that happen, you may need to request accommodations from your employer.
What are reasonable accommodations for injured workers?
Under federal law, employers are not allowed to discriminate against workers with medical conditions or injuries, especially if an employer acquires an injury because of the job that they perform. Workers with a disability have the right to request reasonable accommodations so that they can perform their jobs. Provided that these accommodations aren’t an undue hardship for their employer, the company should do their best to help the worker remain on the job.
Accommodations might include allowing someone to perform tasks differently, a seat for someone who usually stands, more breaks to allow the body to rest, assistive technology or a temporary change in job responsibilities. Even if you can’t do the exact same job, your employer should try to help you stay at work and continue to earn an income.
The bigger your employer’s company is, the easier it should be for them to accommodate your injury while keeping you employed after you get hurt on the job.
What if your employer won’t work with you?
Unfortunately, some companies don’t want to accommodate injured workers. In fact, they may attempt to retaliate against those who report accidents while on the job and those who need accommodations because of an injury. Retaliation and medical discrimination might involve writing you up, demoting you, cutting your pay or even firing you.
Anyone trying to negotiate for accommodations to return to work after an injury or those dealing with the consequences of employer retaliation or discrimination could benefit from getting assistance during this difficult time in their life.