Employment Regulation part 1
Imagine you are a Human Resource manager for a large firm and that one of your employees has suffered a temporary disability. Answer the following questions:
1. What laws apply to temporary disability at the workplace?
2. Under what general circumstances is the employee entitled to benefits?
3. What are those benefits and who administers them?
Employment Regulation Part 2
Using the Library or other Web resources, identify and describe a scenario that involves an ergonomic injury and determine guidelines to prevent further injuries in the work setting. Be sure to explain how the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s criteria for ergonomic injuries might apply to the scenario.
Employment Regulation Part 3
1. What are some challenges that employees have who are disabled on a day to day basis?
2. What are some special accommodations if any do employees with disabilities have within the workplace setting?
Laws Applying to Temporary Disability
Three major laws apply to temporary disability in the workplace. These are Workers’ Compensation, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), n.d). These laws apply in situations where the employee suffers some form of disability. Workers’ Compensation applies at the state level, excluding compensation relating to government employees. This law is a form of insurance that guarantees workers financial aid or medical care in the event they suffer injuries or some form of disability while on the job (ODEP, n.d). Workers’ Compensation may vary across states. In general, Workers’ Compensation applies to all employers having one or more employees. There is no specific amount of compensation, but mainly depends on the level of injuries (ODEP, n.d). All states have special agencies that oversee the implementation of the law.
The FMLA is a federal statute that compels employers to give their employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave per year without the threat of job loss and for certain reasons (ODEP, n.d). The FMLA helps employees in catering for their family’s needs. During leave, the FMLA requires employers to continue paying for the health benefits of the employees just as they were working. The FMLA applies in situations where the employee needs to take leave of absence due to personal health issues or health issues affecting a close family member (ODEP, n.d). The FMLA applies to local, state, and federal employers. For private employers, the law applies to those with 50 or more employees. In addition, there are rules concerning eligibility. For instance, the employee must have worked for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours during the 12 months.
The ADA is a federal law that ensures the protection of the rights of employees living with disabilities. The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals living with disabilities, both employees and job seekers (ODEP, n.d). The ADA applies to employers having more than 14 employees. The employees eligible are those having the necessary skills and can work with or without reasonable accommodations (ODEP, n.d). The employer may deny employment to a prospective employee if there are no reasonable accommodations that the employer can provide.
Employee Entitlement to Benefits
There are certain general circumstances under which an employee is entitled to benefits. One of the general circumstances is where the law mandates the employee to receive certain benefits, for instance, in the event that an employee suffers a workplace injury or disability. The law mandates the employer to provide the employee with benefits such as medical care, financial assistance, or other forms of benefits in the event of a workplace injury or disability. Another circumstance in which the employee is entitled to benefits is if the employer has voluntarily established benefit plans for employees such as health benefits plans, retirement benefits plans, house benefits plans, and among others. The employee would be entitled to any form of benefits that the employer generally provides to other employees. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) provides the minimum standards for various pension and health plans voluntarily established by employers (United States Department of Labor, n.d).
Benefits and those Responsible for Administering Benefits
There are various forms of benefits available to employees. It is mandatory for employers to administer some of the benefits while others are voluntary and primarily meant to attract highly qualified employees into a company. These benefits include retirement plans, housing benefits, workers’ compensation insurance, sick leave, profit sharing benefits, sick leave, health and dental insurance, tuition reimbursement, and among others. The employers hold the responsibility of providing benefits to employees. For the voluntary benefits, the employers decide on the best form of benefits to give employees. Employers may choose to offer a statutory benefits package only to employees or provide a comprehensive fringe benefit package that is more attractive to employees.
An example of a scenario involving ergonomics injuries is office furniture especially for very tall or short employees. An article by Shellenbarger (2014) describes scenarios where employees have complained of back injuries due to the use of the wrong chair and table size. This scenario is common especially where the employee is either too tall or too short, considering that, most furniture designs cater for people of average height. Ellen Frankel, a 4 feet employee working at Marblehead, sights poor posture as her source of chronic back pain. To avert further injuries, the company management should provide necessarily accommodations. According to the Occupational Safe and Health Administration (OSHA) (n.d), organizations should implement processes for protecting workers from harm. The management should identify problems relating to ergonomics and develop adequate solutions. For instance, Ellen Frankel may need a special chair and table that fits her height.
Disabled employees face various challenges in the workplace. One of the major challenge is discrimination, which at times may be difficult to prove. For instance, the management may fail to promote an employee due to his/her disabilities. Another challenge is productivity or speed issues. While an employee with physical disabilities may handle various tasks at normal speeds, he/she may not be able to handle certain tasks, for instance, moving furniture. Another issue is accessibility. Although there are provisions to implement accommodations especially for the physically disabled, they may still face challenges with accessibility. For instance, filing cabinets may be out of reach for them. Physically disabled employees may not have the same mobility as other employees. Special accommodations for these employees may include special chairs and tables, special filing cabinets, exemption from certain duties, braille materials, ramps instead of a staircase, and others.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). (n,d). Ergonomics. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/
Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) (n.d). Employment laws: medical and disability-related leave. United States Department of Labor. Retrieved from https://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/fact/employ.htm
Shellenbarger, S. (2014, May 20). Searching high and low for a just-right chair. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/searching-high-and-low-for-a-just- right-chair-1400630344
United States Department of Labor (n.d). Health plans & benefits: ERISA. Retrieved from https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans/erisa