The Importance of Accurate Job Descriptions in Functional Employment Testing Programs - Laying the Legal Foundation for Hiring and Employment Practices that Include Functional Abilities of the Workforce

By Larry Feeler, PT, CEAS, CEO/Founder | WorkSTEPS

Accurate job descriptions play a critical role in helping employers make content valid employment decisions regarding issues involving placement and work injury management. They will also help the 880,000 employers in the United States meet the requirements of employment law regarding the amended American’s with Disabilities Act (ADAAA) and other Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforcement laws. Furthermore, such information is the ONLY way to truly answer a reasonable accommodation request by an employee. Under the ADA, in order to be legally compliant, all employment decisions regarding hiring, health maintenance, rehabilitation, and disability must be based on actual job requirements. In order to implement effective and legally compliant prevention, injury management, transitional duty, and return-to-work programming, employers should consider documenting functional job requirements and incorporating them into written job descriptions.

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Last Word on Accomodation of Last Resort Yet To Be Spoken
From the Jackson Lewis Disability, Leave and Health Management Blog

Posted on March 10, 2012 by Michael Soltis

When an employee cannot perform the essential functions of his or her position, with or without an accommodation, due to a disability, an employer must consider "the accommodation of last resort"—transfer to a vacant lateral or lower position for which the employee is qualified.

The circuit courts have split on whether an individual with a disability is entitled to that vacant position or must compete for it. The Tenth and D.C. Circuits have held that an individual is entitled to it. The Seventh and Eighth Circuits have held an employer may require the disabled employee to compete for it. In 2007, the United States Supreme Court agreed to review an Eighth Circuit decision on the issue, but the Court dismissed the case when the parties settled their dispute. Huber v. Wal-Mart (8th Cir.2007).

 In 2009, the EEOC sued United Airlines over its policy which required individuals with a disability to compete for a vacant position. Likely seeking a favorable venue and perhaps to avoid Seventh Circuit precedent, the EEOC sued in San Francisco but that court granted United’s motion for a change of venue to Illinois. The EEOC urged the Seventh Circuit to reverse its position. Rejecting the EEOC’s argument, the Seventh Circuit panel reiterated, yet again, that a policy requiring a disabled employee to compete for a vacant position does not violate the ADA, but urged the EEOC to request an en banc review. EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc. (7th Cir. 3/7/12).

Eventually, this issue will percolate up to the Supreme Court again. Until then, circuit matters.

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WorkSTEPS Pre-Employment Post-Offer Testing Helps Kansas Department of Transportation Cut Workers' Comp Claims by 90 Percent Over Two-Year Period

In 2008, Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) Safety Coordinator Kelly Gaer, reviewed the Department’s annual budget and knew that something had to be done to address crippling workers’ compensation costs. Gaer’s preliminary research on KDOT’s workers’ compensation claims revealed telling trends. First, one position – equipment operators – accounted for 77 percent of the total number of claimants.  Second, an overwhelming percentage of claimants had been on the job for only three years or fewer.
 
Year
Percentage of total workers’ comp claims represented by those with less than 3 years experience
 
Claims total
2008
32 percent
$303,000
2009
33 percent
$361,000
2010*
8 percent
$75,000
2011
3.3 percent
$36,000
*First (full) year of WorkSTEPS

IN THIS ISSUE:

The Importance of Accurate Job Descriptions
- Larry Feeler, PT, CEAS

Last Word on Accommodation of Last Resort Yet to be Spoken - Jackson Lewis Disability, Leave and Health Management Blog

KDOT Experiences 90% Claim Reduction in Two Years!



   EXPANSION   

WorkSTEPS is always looking to expand the reach of our provider network by adding skilled providers. In the first quarter of 2012, we added new provider locations in:
 
Arizona         New York
ArkansasNorth Carolina
CaliforniaNorth Dakota
HawaiiOhio
IllinoisOklahoma
IowaPennsylvania
MinnesotaTexas
MissouriUtah
New JerseyWest Virgina
New Mexico

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WorkSTEPS, Inc.
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Phone: (512) 617-4100
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