National Disability Employment Awareness Month recognizes the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a diverse workforce.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is held each October to recognize the contributions of working people with disabilities. It was established by the U.S. Congress in 1945. The theme for 2016 is “#InclusionWorks.”

We are dedicating this blog post to our clients who simply want a chance to be productive and earn a fair living. Discrimination against people with disabilities is common and it is not easy to transition into gainful employment. Here is some little known information that Michigan employers should know.

Michigan workers’ compensation law permits companies to hire people suffering from specific disabilities and limit the amount of exposure to 52 weeks of wage loss benefits should a workplace accident occur. The Second Injury Fund (SIF) assumes responsibility for all remaining workers’ compensation payments.

Certification from Michigan Rehabilitation Services as “vocationally disabled” is required and only new hires qualify. Vocationally disabled means a person who has a medically certifiable impairment of the back or heart, or who is subject to epilepsy, or who has diabetes, and whose impairment is a substantial obstacle to employment, considering such factors as the person’s age, education, training, experience, and employment rejection.

Regrettably, changes in the mid-1990s have made this process much more difficult. An employer must now certify that it refused to hire the worker because of his or her disability. This requirement raises all kinds of legal and ethical concerns that many employers want to avoid.

We need to make hiring of vocationally disabled workers a bigger priority. It is time the Michigan Legislature step-up and recognize the value of a diverse workforce.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2016

Photo courtesy of United States Department of Labor.

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