Yes, we are still talking about job descriptions, but this time in the context of return-to-work programs. Job descriptions are a multi-purpose tool akin to the Leatherman. Unfortunately, HR Managers, Risk Managers and even school boards fail to see the value in them. Until it is too late of course.
We have looked at the issue as it relates to the interactive process and the hiring process. Now, let’s take a look at the work comp process or more specifically the return-to-work process which is a form of the interactive process in its simplest terms.
It all starts with the injury and leads to a doctor having to make a decision as to the capability of a person being able to return to work. With malpractice insurance rates higher than Colorado teens, doctors are sure to err on the side of conservative, especially without a job description. The job description tells the doctor what the person’s duties are and what the physical demands of those duties are. Sure the doctor should have some idea of what is possible, but without the job description that doctor is going to rely on the word of the injured employee. Now, we all know that employees don’t intentionally try to lead doctors down the wrong path, but in the complex world of medical and human resources, the employee is not going to fully relay the correct information to the doctor.
The job description solves the doctor interpertation problem. They can read the description, see the physical limiations and then provide a capability statement (restriction) for the employee. No argument because it is right there in black and white.
In addition, when the employee is reached a plateau we can use the job description to eliminate the confusion. Especially if that pleateau results in a second opinion or a QME. So, let’s get our job descriptions in order and give our adjusters, work comp managers and consultants a great tool to work with.