A past post on our personal injury and Social Security disability blog began a conversation about people who suffer with traumatic brain injuries and their potential difficulties in the workplace.
Serious brain injuries like TBI can impact a victim's life in various ways: cognitively, physically and behaviorally. These results of brain damage don't always make it impossible for someone to work, but they can make it necessary for employers to make certain job accommodations.
We listed some of the most common cognitive hardships that workers with TBI face. The following are some of the emotional and behavioral changes that can be important for employers to recognize and accommodate in the workplace:
Self-control: A worker will say or do things without giving their actions proper or expected thought. This could mean the person says or does seemingly inappropriate things. These actions could seem out of character.
Part of accommodating that hardship is for employers to be understanding when this issue presents itself. A manager could also have regular discussions with the worker and give honest, compassionate feedback about the behavior.
Mood: A worker with a TBI can exhibit mood swings. Their mood can go from one mood to another in an extreme, random way. Someone might react inappropriately to certain situations, such as laughing when something isn't funny.
Another aspect of mood hardships for TBI sufferers is that they can often suffer from depression and low self-esteem.
Again, accommodating these hardships starts with an employer's awareness and anticipation of these TBI consequences. Employers' patient, understanding feedback regarding mood and behavior can be helpful. Providing a calm area and redirecting behavior are also reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
For some people living with TBIs or other disabilities, working could turn out to be impossible and even detrimental to their health. A Social Security disability lawyer could help explain and fight for those rights.