Essential Job Functions and Rehabilitation of Injured Workers
By: Steven Babitsky, Esq.

An essential function job description is one of the crucial elements of the effective rehabilitation of injured workers. The law is clear on the interactive process that is required.

The employer must make a reasonable effort to determine the appropriate accommodation. The appropriate reasonable accommodation is best determined through a flexible, interactive process that involves both the employer and the qualified individual with a disability.

The EEOC’s interpretive guidance [provides]: “When a qualified individual with a disability has requested a reasonable accommodation to assist in the performance of a job, the employer, using a problem solving approach, should: [¶] (1) Analyze the particular job involved and determine its purpose and essential functions; [¶] (2) Consult with the individual with a disability to ascertain the precise job-related limitations imposed by the individual’s disability and how those limitations could be overcome with a reasonable accommodation; [¶] (3) In consultation with the individual to be accommodated, identify potential accommodations and assess the effectiveness each would have in enabling the individual to perform the essential functions of the position; and [¶] (4) Consider the preference of the individual to be accommodated and select and implement the accommodation that is most appropriate for both the employee and the employer.” (29 C.F.R., § 1630.9, App.)

Kathleen Benson-Larson will present Rehabilitation of Injured Workers: Effective Use of Essential Function Job Descriptions at the SEAK 33rd Annual National Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Medicine Conference to be held on July16-18, 2013 on Cape Cod, MA.

Ms. Larson will explain why an Essential Function Job Description (EFJD) is an effective injury prevention and management tool. She will present the proven reasons why employers should have EFJD and why treating physicians and other medical providers who treat injured workers should insist on having this information. Ms. Larson will offer a template of an EFJD and other related formats. Ms. Larson will discuss the difference between essential and marginal functions, physical and cognitive abilities, skills and traits and include this information within an EFJD. Ms. Larson will offer practical suggestions on how to get started in the rehabilitation of injured workers with the use of EFJD.

Kathleen Benson-Larson MA, CRC, CDMS, CLCP-R, CEAS1 has worked at EMC Insurance Companies in Des Moines, Iowa since 1994 as a Rehabilitation Case Manager and Occupational Consultant. During this time she has assisted injured workers in the coordination of their medical recovery and stages of return to work. Ms. Larson is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), a Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS), a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP-R) and a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist I (CEAS I). She completed her Master of Arts Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling/Counselor Education from The University of Iowa in 1979 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Juvenile Corrections from Oklahoma State University in 1976. Kate is a member of the National and Iowa Rehabilitation Associations to include that association’s Job Placement Division; a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers/Hawkeye Chapter and the Greater Des Moines Ergonomics Forum. She also serves as a board member with On With Life, a non-profit, post-acute, comprehensive 26-bed inpatient rehabilitation facility located in Ankeny, Iowa which provides services to individuals and families impacted by brain injury

For additional information about the SEAK National Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Medicine Conference click here.

Steven Babitsky, Esq. is the conference leader.