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How to Request Workplace Accommodations After an Injury

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Posted By KSK Law | February 26 2024 | Workers Rights, Workers' Comp

A workplace injury can have a major impact on your personal and professional life. Beyond the immediate physical pain and recovery process, your injury could affect your ability to perform your duties.

In these situations, you have the right to request workplace accommodations from your employer. These accommodations make it possible for you to continue participating in your workplace while also safeguarding your health and well-being.

Examples of Post-Injury Workplace Accommodations

After an injury, you might require adjustments to your work environment or schedule to return to work. Below are a few examples of accommodations that can facilitate this transition:

  • Adjustable Desks: For people with back injuries or mobility issues, standing desks or adjustable workstations can provide more comfort and flexibility than a stationary desk.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Allowing for altered start and end times can accommodate medical appointments or energy fluctuations throughout the day.
  • Remote Work Options: For jobs that permit it, working from home can reduce the physical strain of commuting and allow for a more controlled environment.
  • Ergonomic Equipment: Specialized chairs, keyboards, and other tools can help reduce strain and prevent further harm, especially for workers with repetitive strain injuries.
  • Modified Duties: Your injury could prevent you from performing certain tasks. To accommodate these changes, you could request your employer to adjust your job responsibilities temporarily or permanently.

Ways to Request Accommodations in the Workplace

Multiple civil rights laws—including the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for disabilities, ensuring equal employment opportunities. Whether your workplace injury is permanent or temporary, you have the right to request these accommodations. As long as these adjustments do not cause undue hardship to the business, your employer is compelled to provide them.

You or an advocate can initiate this request with your supervisor, human resources, or another appropriate figure within your organization. You can make these requests verbally or in writing:

  • Verbal Accommodations Requests: Speak with your supervisor or HR manager about your need for accommodations. Explain how the injury impacts your ability to perform your job and what changes or aids could help. After the conversation, send a follow-up email summarizing the discussion and the accommodations requested. This step ensures there’s a documented record of your request, which can be useful if any future disputes arise.
  • Written Accommodations Requests: Written requests should be detailed and direct, outlining the nature of your workplace injury and the accommodations you’re seeking. Include any medical documentation that supports your request for accommodations, if available. After drafting your letter or email, send it to your supervisor, HR manager, or designated accommodations officer. Make sure to keep a copy for your records.

What to Do If Your Employer Refuses Your Request

If your request for reasonable accommodation is denied, you have the right to take legal action. Employers are not required to fulfill every specific request if alternatives exist or if the accommodation would cause significant difficulty or expense to the business. However, if the accommodation was reasonable and your employer unfairly denied it, report the incident to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

You should also contact a lawyer who has experience handling workplace injury cases. A Minneapolis workers’ compensation attorney can provide the support and representation that you need during this time, ensuring your rights are protected and respected in the workplace.

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