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8 Words or Phrases That Should Be Retired From The Workers' Compensation Field

8 Words or Phrases That Should Be Retired From The Workers' Compensation Field
Let’s “voc” (pronounced VOKE) him! – a Vocational Rehabilitation referral is frequently used as the last ditch effort to settle a case if nothing else has worked. Vocational Rehabilitation is not a verb – it is a profession. Before introducing VR, it would be helpful to answer some questions:What efforts have been made to facilitate a RTW with the same employer?Was a job analysis provided to identify job demands?Was a functional assessment used to determine the IW’s (injured worker) true physical capabilities?Was transitional duty available or offered?Once the need for permanent restrictions was anticipated, what services were used to facilitate RTW (e.g., assisting the IW to obtain a high school diploma)?

By using "Vocational Rehabilitation" as a negative service to facilitate something other than assistance for the IW to find appropriate work within their capabilities, this practice is counterproductive at the least.

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More on Accommodations at Work

As a follow up to our previous articles of "ADA and Return to Work", the importance of having an interactive dialogue with workers who mention a limitation in doing their job, became more obvious in the Young vs. UPS case. This case is about a pregnant worker who sued UPS for not providing an accommodation for a lifting restriction she had while pregnant. This was an interesting case for a couple of different reasons - UPS already had policies in place to accommodate non-pregnant, injured employees. While pregnancy is not considered a "disability", there are many possibilities for "pregnancy-related disabilities" (such as temporary carpal tunnel, gestational diabetes, etc). So far, there is a ruling in the employee's favor, because UPS had so many workers who have been accommodated due to physical restrictions, the question became why not accommodate pregnant workers the same way? Although there was not enough evidence to indicate a violation of the PDA (Pregnancy Discrimination Act), the courts & EEOC did think this worker should have been treated similarly to injured workers. The case is back in the court of appeals at this time.

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