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Work Solutions Insight March 2014 Newsletter

DSI Job Function Matching® brochure available: For work injury management specialists, employers and workers. Click Here

LinkedIn: click here to join the DSI Job Function Matching® group.

DSI WORK SOLUTIONS E-NEWSLETTER - ANNOUNCING 2014 NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Minneapolis, MN • September 19-20, 2014

Employers, Medical Professionals & Case Managers:
Combining Efforts to
Reduce Work Injury & Disability

Featuring successful work injury management TEAM MEMBERS:

  • Major National Companies: Georgia Pacific; Sypris Technologies, Weather Shield
  • Medical/Case Management: Sanford Health, SD; Bone and Joint Center, WI; Alaris Group, MN
  • Attorney: Legal Updates: ADAAA updates, Hiring and Placement Policies
  • Therapist Specialists: Susan Isernhagen  PT, Dennis Isernhagen PT, Nancy Bellendorf OT, Scott Edge PT, Curt DeWeese PT, Ginnie Halling PT, Andy Wood PT, Kim Smith PT
  • Safety Directors; Human Resource Managers; Medical Case Managers
  • Employee Health and Wellness Specialist

Specific Topics:

  • Improving Communication and Return to Work Outcomes
  • Methods to Achieve Good Outcomes in Industrial Settings
  • Best practices: Physician Decision Making in Return to Work
  • Ergonomics: Essentials for Success
  • Legally Compliant Policies in Hiring and Return to Work
  • Synergy: Bringing Key Players Together Effectively in the RTW Process
  • And More!

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER  
EMAIL bhoward@dsiworksolutions.com

LEGAL UPDATE

COMPANY LOSES DUE TO ACCOMMODATION DENIALS AND TERMINATION OF AN EMPLOYEE

Disability Compliance Bulletin, Volume 48, Issue 6, February 20, 2014.

Noon v. International Business Machines, 48 NDLR 90 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)

Noon (an employee of IBM) informed IBM of her physical disability requiring accommodations (stenosis and disc-related back pain).  Noon and IBM couldn't agree on reasonable accommodations regarding Noon's director position that required international travel.  Noon sought to keep her job and requested a lighter laptop and business class instead of coach class travel, based on her physician's recommendations. IBM instead suggested that she work from home on a special project, part time and offered an ergonomic workstation.  Because they couldn't agree, Noon was ultimately replaced by IBM and she subsequently sought protection under ADA Title I.

In an ADA case, the employee must show that he or she was subjected to adverse employment action "solely because of" the disability. In this case, the jury concluded that IBM's suggested accommodations were not reasonable given Noon's intention to retain her position.  IBM's vagueness about the special project and Noon's alleged supervisor's "change in attitude" towards her did not help IBM.  Thus this ADA claim advanced because the jury concluded that IBM took adverse action against Noon after she sought accommodations for her normal position.

DSI Interpretation:  This case highlights the importance of focus on developing reasonable accommodations for an employee's existing job.  Employers should strongly consider using rehabilitation professionals skilled in "job function matching" to help determine:

  • if a  "job function match" exists- with or without modifications/accommodations
  • what modifications(s), when needed,  could create a "job function match"

Objective evidence (such as that created by the DSI Job Function Matching process) could have helped both parties reach an agreeable solution. A strategy could have been to bring in a rehabilitation expert to obtain objective evidence about the physical demands of the job and the employee's actual ability to safely perform the job. This would have helped both parties- by using objective information- work towards a plausible solution. Instead, this situation became an argument that brought about 2 substantial losses- the employee's job and the employer's money and resources.  G. Halling

WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST DSI WORK SOLUTIONS PROVIDERS!

EB Physical Therapy, LLC - Mishawaka, IN
Bluegrass Outpatient Center - Bowling Green, KY
The Medical Center at Franklin - Franklin, KY
PRO Physical Therapy - Front Royal, VA
Augusta Health - Fishersville, VA
Sanford Bemidji Medical Center - Bemidji, MN
Sanford Health Occupational Medicine - Fargo, ND

NEW WEBINAR PRICING!

Work Injury Management & Prevention Webinar Series
Each Educational Webinar is 90 Min. in Length
(1.5 contact hours)
Click here for list of topics and order form

Full Webinar Series: $495.00

  • 1 webinar: $60
  • 2-5 webinars: $50 each
  • 6+ webinars: $45 each

SAD IMPACTS SOME EMPLOYEES ENOUGH TO REQUIRE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects many individuals from October until April each year by causing a variety of symptoms such as depression, fatigue, oversleeping, lethargy, weight gain and difficulty concentrating.  In its worst form it may lead to the inability to work, or suicidal thoughts.

Employers are also impacted in many ways when this disorder goes unrecognized and unmanaged - lower attendance, decreased productivity and decreased work quality to name a few.  Employers also cannot ignore the fact that they may have a legal liability under the ADAAA to address requests for reasonable accommodations related to more severe cases of SAD  (see Ekstrand v. Somerset School District, 45 NDLR 107, 683 f.3d 826 (7th Cir. 2012).

Summer may be on the way; however employers would be well advised to educate employees on recognizing and managing SAD in advance of the next "season".

Ideas to share with employees to help them reduce SAD symptoms include:

  • Teach Employees to recognize SAD symptoms, and when to seek medical advice
  • Make one's living environment sunnier and brighter. Open blinds, trim tree branches that block sunlight or add skylights to the home. Sit closer to bright windows while at home or at work
  • Get outside. Take walks, eat lunch at a nearby park, or simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun. Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help — especially if time is spent outside within two hours of getting up in the morning
  • Exercise regularly. Physical exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can decrease seasonal affective disorder symptoms. Being more fit can make one feel better and improve one's mood

Ideas employers can use to combat SAD symptoms in the workforce:

  • Increase employee's exposure to natural light/sunlight: Make sure break areas have windows and/or outdoor access readily available.
  • Use fluorescent tubes and/or full spectrum light sources to increase light exposure (sunlight is not the only light that can provide symptom relief)
  • Provide resources for Desk lamps for office workers
  • Provide resources for Light visors  for physically active/mobile workers
  • Perform warm up exercises pre-shift- office workers and manual laborers alike

Sources: Disability Compliance Bulletin, Vol. 48, Issue 2. Page 3, 11/14/13; Job Accommodation Network http://askjan.org/media/Psychiatric.html; Mayo Clinic www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20021047

NEW - DSI JOB FUNCTION MATCHING® SOFTWARE

This cloud based software program facilitates the development of

  • DSI's Job Function Description™
  • Job Function Test™
  • Job Function Matching®
  • Ergonomic Opportunities

Major advancements are seamless use of job analysis information to populate the DSI Job Function Descriptions > Test > Job Matching and Ergonomic report. ADAAA compliance is high as there the testing is developed directly from the job description inessential function format. The DSI Job Function Matching format also facilitates reasonable accommodation information to be aligned directly with specific tasks. To learn more about DSI's Job Function Matching® system and to join our growing list of new software users, contact ghalling@dsiworksolutions.com or call us at 270.245.1000.

2014 JOB FUNCTION MATCHING CALENDAR

February 13: Training: Onsite In Industry: NY - FULL
February 21-23: Training: DSI Job Function Matching and FCA: ND - FULL
February 28 - March 2: Training: DSI Job Function Matching and FCA: VA - FULL
April 12-14: Training: DSI Job Function Matching and FCA: WI - FULL 
April 25-27: Training:DSI Job Function Matching and FCA: KY - OPEN
April 28-30: 2014 Wisconsin Safety and Health Conference and Expo - DSI Instructor Nancy Bellendorf, OTR/L presenting" RTW and Disability Management : Strategies for Success"
May 16-18: Training: DSI Job Function Matching and FCA: NY - OPEN
June 20-22: Training: DSI Job Function Matching and FCA: WI - OPEN 
August 8-10: Training: DSI Job Function Matching and FCA: KY - OPEN
September 19-20: DSI National Conference: Minneapolis, MN 
November 5-8: PPS Annual Conference & Exhibition: Colorado Springs, CO - DSI CEO Ginnie Halling, PT and COO Curt DeWeese, PT presenting: "Expand your Practice; Assist Employers with Return to Work & Injury Prevention Strategy"

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