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Ask the Expert: What Do I Tell My Employer? What Do I Tell My Employer?

Michael V. Kaplen, Esq.

Comments [2]


I had a mild TBI last year and now my employer expects me to work as I had before my injury. I still have problems with fatigue, memory, and concentration but have no visible scars. My doctors classify my injuries as “mild.” How do I explain to my employer that my problems are real?

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Sometimes it's best that you don't do the explanation yourself when trying to explain your TBI to your employer. Sometimes it's best if you work with professionals such as neuropsychologists to explain to your employer that you had an injury, that you have recovered to some extent from your injury, but you need some support in order to do your job properly. And what you need to do is explain to your employer that you are just not the same as you were before your injury. But that doesn't mean that you can't go to work and do your job and do a competent job. It just means that you need some assistance along the way. Some of those assists that you need might be very simple assists that are easily provided and easy accommodations which, under the law, your employer is obligated to give to you, such as providing you with notepads so you can take notes, such as providing you with a tape recorder so that when you go to a meeting you could record the information and listen to it back. Sometimes you might just need short breaks during the course of the day so that when you get cognitively fatigued you can recover and go back to work. Sometimes the accommodation might be instead of working a full day you might only work a half-day in order to accommodate your disability. Sometimes instructions, rather than being in writing, if you have problems with visual difficulties following your brain injury, those instructions can be communicated to you verbally. So there--sometimes if you have problems with loud noises, your environment could be moved to a more quiet space so that you can do your job. And if you have a problem with bright lights, maybe you could work in an area where there is more natural light than artificial light. These are easy accommodations that could be provided, but employers are not aware of them because they're not aware, first, of your injury and then not aware of the deficits that you have. So sometimes it's easy if somebody with the proper skill set comes in and explains it to your employer so that you get the help that you really need so that you can remain at work and do your job properly.

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Michael V. Kaplen, Esq. Michael V. Kaplen, Esq. is a partner in the New York law firm, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP. He is the chairperson of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and the immediate past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State.

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Comments [2]

I suffered a hypoxia traumatic brain injury in 2012 and have major problems with sleep and anything registering through my eyes and ears to my brain. Have had tests done but sick of doctors that just want to throw pills down your throat.

Jul 4th, 2015 7:27pm

Just sharing my thoughts, I cant get into my home page in computer so youll not be able to return a message, I am recovering from a brain injury in 2002 and live so isolated from the world. I try to get out and return to work but only last a couple of weeks or months then burn out. People , even family have walked away , seems like no 1 other than my doc understands me. Thing I hate is drugs and Im taking oxazepam to sleep andantidepressants, wish I could sleep and take things in without thinking so god dam much. Aw well hope prey that 1 day things will change, its hard time of year caus once again I have nothing for kids for x mas caus of my stupid head , I see a nerosycolagist but I need more help. dont know why Im writting this caus I cant recieve mail but hope some 1 learns something from this

Dec 8th, 2010 8:31am


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