Joined: Feb 2004
Thursday May 25, 2006 5:44 AM
I would be pleased to offer my assistance to you with Interactive Process Meetings.
I have written an article on the interactive process which I have included, below.
I have many references I can offer you concerning my services.
Please let me know how I can contact you to further discuss your specific file needs.
I am looking forward to your reply.
With the changes in the California Workers Compensation laws, engaging in the Interactive Process Meeting has become essential when exploring the issue of Reasonable Accommodation. Pursuant to FEHA, a good faith effort must be instituted in order to explore modified or alternative employment in the workplace.
In doing so, there are many benefits, as follows:
* compliance with regulations
* demonstration of assisting the injured worker or employee in performing their job
* promoting a spirit of interest in health, safety and the welfare of employees
* enabling workers to remain in the workplace
* assisting the worker in continuing to be a productive member of society
When arranging an Interactive Process Meeting, the worker is invited to participate in the meeting. At the onset, they are informed the intent of the meeting is to help them and is not to be viewed as punitive in any manner. They are informed their input is essential and they are asked if they have any suggestions for the type of accommodation they are needing. It has been my experience that it takes a while for the injured worker to open up and provide their ideas for where their areas of challenge are and exactly how they need accommodation.
Typically, these meetings have consisted of myself as the facilitator, the injured worker, the risk manager or human resource manager and the supervisor. I have facilitated several where the applicant attorney and defense attorney were present. I introduce myself as an objective party who has been requested to facilitate the meeting on behalf of the employer or the workers compensation carrier. I then review the physical limitations specified by the doctor, if they are available. We then review the essential job functions of the position and discuss ideas for accomplishing the same task in a less strenuous or physically demanding manner. Some recent strategies and innovations have included:
* installing an s-hook in an inventory closet at eye level to avoid the need to look down and cause neck strain from writing on a clipboard.
* purchasing a narrower chair with wheels that will easily transverse on a carpeted surface, to enable a teacher to push the chair up to the students desks, per the school policy
* giving a walkie-talkie to a classroom teacher responsible for yard duty so they can call for back-up assistance from the office, in the event of an emergency
* determining that a walk-in cooler will be propped open briefly while the worker puts supplies inside, thus assisting them in coping with an anxiety concern.
* changing the type of mouse and providing a gel wrist pad to reduce the pressure on a workers wrist and surgery area.
* changing the font size on the computer screen while the worker is word processing, so they can remain in a chair with back support without having to lean forward to read documents
Subsequent to conducting the Interactive Process Meeting, a written summary is prepared and forwarded to the parties, outlining the discussions that took place and the strategies and recommendations implemented.
The person who is performing the position, when giving the opportunity, can offer a wealth of ideas once they feel supported in the Interactive Process Meeting, in how they can be accommodated and continue to provide for themselves and their family.
Though simple, these ideas can make the difference between someone remaining in the workplace, sharing their expertise and experience and continuing to be a productive society member.
There is then a positive outcome for the employee, employer and the workers compensation carrier, all of whom are working in a united effort to help people work safer, work smarter.
Author Jamie Charter has been providing employment and litigation consulting services for 23 years through Charter and Company in Soquel, California. Jamie is Certified as a Professional in Disability Management, (CPDM) and is a State of California Independent Vocational Evaluator (IVE). Jamie is also an accomplished writer and editor, with many published articles in employment related issues in wide-reaching media arenas. She is on the workcompschool faculty.
Edited: Thursday May 25, 2006 at 11:18 PM by jcwriter