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February 06, 2015 on chapter Workers' compensation

How can we help a worker with a non-work-related injury return to work?

Our maintenance worker suffered a serious brain tumor and was off work for 4 months. There is no suggestion whatsoever that the brain tumor is work-related.

The worker received clearance from his doctor to commence light duties upon his return to work and the worker also gave us a letter indicating that he voluntarily wished to return to work on a gradual basis.

He had been coming to work when he felt well enough for increasing numbers of hours, until a month ago, when he had a relapse. He has been off work ever since. He is now considering returning for a few hours at a time. We are trying to do the best for his return and recovery. What do you recommend?

Although his illness is not work-related, this worker is protected by discrimination legislation for his disability, which means your organisation needs to make reasonable accommodation or adjustments to allow him to work in his former role. This usually involves agreeing to a graduated return to work plan in a similar way to a workers’ compensation matter.

Adjustments for the worker will only be unreasonable if they impose an unreasonable hardship on your organisation.

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