Your Next Hire Could Be Your Next Injury Claim

This fall at NWCDC, employers can learn more about implementing a post-offer screening process without risking a breach of federal anti-discrimination laws.
By: | July 22, 2019

A significant challenge for many employers is ensuring that new hires are physically able to handle job-related tasks safely, without running afoul of federal anti-discrimination laws in the process.

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Curt DeWeese, a physical therapist and director at Atlas Injury Prevention Solutions, along with Albert Lee, an attorney with Tucker/Arensberg, a Pittsburgh-based law firm, will address the topic this fall at the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo scheduled for Nov. 6 to 8 in Las Vegas.

In a session entitled “Avoid Hiring Your Next Injury — Is Doing So Legal?” DeWeese and Lee will cover how to navigate the complicated waters of managing risk while also ensuring that the legal rights of prospective workers are protected.

DeWeese said the session will be of particular interest to professional in human resources and in safety and risk management. While both work toward a company’s common good, they sometimes find their goals at odds.

“The human resources team at a company is charged with filling open positions,” DeWeese said. “The safety department is worried about hiring people who are capable of doing the work. There is inherent tension there.”

Whether it’s being able to lift 80 pounds, climb a ladder, or push up the hood of a truck, the session will cover use of post-offer screening programs to identify prospective employees who are able to safely do the tasks required in a job and those who are not.

“This is a compliant way for job candidates and employers to find out whether they can do a job safely,” said DeWeese whose company has performed between 30,000 and 40,000 post-offer screenings a year since 2010.

“The human resources team at a company is charged with filling open positions. The safety department is worried about hiring people who are capable of doing the work. There is inherent tension there.” — Curt DeWeese, director, Atlas Injury Prevention Solutions

The implication of not complying with anti-discrimination laws are tremendous, according to Lee. Statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prove his point. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, resolutions were reached in 2018 for 29,511 cases and $136.5 million in monetary benefits were paid out.

“If you have a bad post-offer screening process and you use it on 1,000 people and rescind a job offer for 150 people, you don’t have just one case, you potentially have 150 cases,” Lee said.

He added that not having an effective post-offer screening program can have other adverse impacts such as negative publicity and an adverse impact on company culture. He said many employers are not aware of what information they can legally collect about a job candidate.

“Most employers don’t know what you can gather, when you can gather it, and what you can do with the information that you gather,” he says. “This session will cover the who, what, where, when and why of gathering information about peoples’ health.”

To prepare for the session, DeWeese recommends attendees consider what their companies’ need are.

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“They want to have an understanding of what their company’s exposure is,” he said. “What types of injuries might their employees experience?”

Lee offered similar advice.

“Figure out what problems you’re trying to solve by using a program like a post-offer screening,” he said.

Lee said companies need to strike a balance between filling positions to continue to be productive and ensuring a safe work place and that the legal rights of job applicants are protected.

“Employers want to keep people safe, but if they exclude someone incorrectly they are violating a person’s legal rights,” Lee said. &

About the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo:

As the largest National Workers’ Comp and Disability Conference for more than 25 years, NWCDC offers endless opportunities that will propel your workers’ comp and disability management programs forward.  With the biggest Expo in the industry, you’ll be able to touch, compare and contrast the newest solutions from leading vendors in every category, and gain knowledge on-the-go at in-depth sponsored sessions on the show floor. Additionally, NWCDC offers valuable networking opportunities so you can make important contacts and share strategies with your peers.

You can also customize your learning experience with breakout sessions in six distinct program tracks: Claims Management, Medical Management, Program Management, Disability Management, Legal/Regulatory, and Technology. Plus, you’ll hear from Risk & Insurance’s Teddy Award winners for excellence in lowering workers’ comp risk.

Learn more about NWCDC and special savings for Risk & Insurance® subscribers here.

Annemarie Mannion is a freelance writer. She can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]