Employers often think employees coming back to work after a disability leave need to be 100 percent healthy to be productive. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking could cause employers to find themselves with an ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) complaint or in hot water with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). To avoid these circumstances, employers should understand how to comply with the ADAAA.
Sandy Johnson could write her blog posts in French if the mood strikes her.
She says she spent her 20s “finding herself,” and along the way she “found” degrees in French, speech pathology, and guidance and counseling. Also a travel lover, Sandy has been to France, England, Mexico and Italy.
She also learned how to work with substance abuse clients, assist injured workers and design ergonomic training programs for supervisors. When she’s at home base she takes those skills and applies them to her disability and productivity consultant position with The Standard. By meeting with employers and understanding their culture and needs, she matches on-site specialists with employers. She oversees services that help injured and ill employees stay at work or return to work as soon as possible. Sandy’s even got the stamp of approval to do it all – as a certified rehabilitation counselor.
When she’s not planning her next trip or studying French phrases, Sandy likes to bury herself in a good mystery novel or crossword puzzle, as well as create homemade greeting cards and jewelry.
Posts by Sandy Johnson
In a recent success story from a participant in our Workplace Possibilities Program, it took approximately 19 days for an organization to recoup the cost for an executive assistant (we’ll call her Jennifer) to work more productively with less pain.
Being able to determine whether a disability management program is truly successful often lies with the employees. It is our job as consultants and your job as HR professionals to prove that our efforts in getting people back to work sooner after a disability leave or keeping people on the job really work, and I believe one of the best ways to showcase success is by sharing someone’s personal experience with it. People typically connect best with stories that offer that human element — and that’s why I like to call them the “proof in the pudding.”
Lately it seems that everywhere I turn, whether it’s in the break-room at work or in the lunchroom, I frequently hear people talking about being unhappy with their weight and how it prevents them from fitting into the latest fashion. Being overweight (or underweight, for that matter) impacts much more than what you wear.
Shoes are not just an expression of style — they can have a major impact on a person’s health. When researching comfortable business shoes for a customer recently, I was astounded to learn that the projected time off work for a procedure such as a bunionectomy can be several weeks depending on how much lifting, standing and walking a job requires, according to the MD Guidelines.1
When it comes to modifying jobs, employers are often more comfortable dealing with physical illness and injures rather than mental illness situations. For example, if an employee has a shoulder problem, you’d be inclined to ask about reaching and overhead lifting restrictions. In contrast, when it comes to mental health problems, many employers respond with the “deer in the headlights” reaction. You might be wondering if the employee is fit to work.
I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way. Mental health conditions can be addressed the same way physical conditions are addressed.