ADA in the WC World: Lost in Translation?
By Gary Anderberg, PhD
SVP Claim Analytics
Do your colleagues across the hall in risk management speak fluent ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)? Do your ADA and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) compliance programs include your colleagues in workers’ compensation? Are you sure about that?
We typically think of the ADA, the ADA Amendments Act, the FMLA, and the rest of that alphabet soup of laws and regulations as the proper concern of human resources (HR). The great majority of questions and controversies arising from these laws concern hiring, retention, and disability-related events handled under the HR umbrella. But what about exporting ADA compliance into your corporate workers’ compensation (WC) program? The accommodation process prescribed under the ADA, for example, applies to return-to-work (RTW) efforts following a work injury as much as to a similar effort following a non-work-related disability.
Ideally, your organization’s WC and nonoccupational disability administration practices follow the same compliance directives as they interact with the ADA and the FMLA — but do they really? Let’s look at a few specific areas where gaps may become chasms and ADA compliance can get lost in translation.
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