Accommodations that can help your workers with brain injury — and your business
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) ... it’s one of the signature wounds of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by many accounts, a great deal of returning service members will be coping with the effects of TBI as they transition to civilian life. For employers that brings up some important questions — among them, what should they expect from employees with TBI, and how can they support them in the workplace?
It’s true that veterans — and anyone experiencing the effects of TBI — may face day-to-day difficulties in their work environment. However, employers can play a vital role in these individuals' recovery by recognizing the challenges associated with TBI and making adjustments and reasonable accommodations to help ensure workplace success. And disabled veterans aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit from the implementation of workplace supports. Veterans are known to make excellent employees, so helping them succeed on the job not only contributes to the veteran’s recovery, it can also positively impact a business’ bottom line.
People with TBI may experience some limitations but the severity of the TBI and degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Employers should be aware that not all people with TBI will need accommodations to perform their jobs, and many others may only need a few accommodations. However, in many cases, simple, inexpensive workplace supports can make all the difference toward a successful employment experience.
Employers should also know that unless employees reveal that they have been diagnosed with TBI, the employer will not necessarily know whether the condition is present. In fact, job applicants do not have to disclose a disability on a job application or in a job interview unless they need an accommodation to assist them in the application or interview process. Employers can learn more about their responsibilities under state and federal disability laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), by contacting the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) by phone (1-800-526-7234) or online at www.jan.wvu.edu.
Information and Technical Assistance
Recognizing the needs of businesses that employ wounded and injured veterans, the US Department of Labor recently unveiled America’s Heroes at Work, a unique initiative designed to help employers support veterans who are coping with TBI, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). America’s Heroes at Work equips businesses and the workforce development system with free fact sheets, reference guides, training modules, and a toll-free helpline (1-800-526-7234) designed to offer guidance on workplace supports that can help disabled veteran employees succeed on the job.
Click here for specific accommodations employers — and employees — should know about.
For more information, visit www.AmericasHeroesAtWork.gov.