This article was originally distributed by the Washington State Disability Inclusion Network (DIN) Business Resource Group.
The Disability Inclusion Network would like you to join us in celebrating October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Be on the lookout for the rest of the month on ways you can help celebrate.
Workplace Accommodations for Employees with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
“Dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at work can be stressful. Navigating flashbacks, panic attacks, and hypervigilance is difficult in any setting, but managing these symptoms in a workplace can feel impossible. When you’re constantly worrying about judgment from your coworkers and peers, it can be hard to focus on the job at hand.
Being in close proximity with coworkers can be stressful for someone with PTSD for a number of reasons. While other workers might not mind cramming into a small break room or meeting room, many people with PTSD don’t like their personal space to be invaded. The average worker might find loud conversations and background chatter in the office to be a minor annoyance, but those types of distractions could be tough for someone with PTSD to handle.”
What accommodation must an employer provide for PTSD?
Once informed of its employee’s PTSD, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation. All accommodations are based on the circumstances; there is no one-size-fits-all accommodation. To determine the proper accommodation, the employer must engage in the “interactive process” with the employee. (The Kaufman Law Firm)
Questions to ask:
Has the employee with PTSD been consulted regarding possible accommodations?
What limitations is the employee with PTSD experiencing, and how do these limitations affect the employee’s job performance?
What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems?
Do supervisory personnel and employees need training regarding PTSD and workplace accommodations?
Here are some accommodations for PTSD symptoms that are typically very easy to implement:
Noise canceling devices, i.e. headphones
Written instructions and requests
Allowing for phone calls to support persons during the work day
Intersectionality is a popular word in today’s news, but what does it mean for people with disabilities who are experiencing other forms of marginalization and identities, such as being Black, immigrant, or transgender?
Join the Disability Inclusion Network for a Lunch and Learn led by Carrie Basas, Director of the Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds, where we discuss what intersectionality is from a disability perspective and how we can act in solidarity to advance racial and disability justice, as well as social change. Let’s create a WA workplace together where we can bring our whole selves.
“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” -Audre Lorde
Washington State’s six Business Resource Groups (BRGs) are excited to present the following message in celebration of Diversity Month.
During Diversity Month, the business resource groups wish to generate awareness about the intersectionality of characteristics that make us unique and the need to demonstrate appreciation for each human being we encounter. This month, we encourage you to create space for courageous conversations about identity and to learn more about someone who appears to have a different cultural background or experience from your own. Some ways to learn include: engaging in open dialogue, reading a book, watching a movie or video clip and more, all with an open and empathetic heart.
Statewide BRGs unite employees who identify with common backgrounds with allies under shared values and goals. All BRGs have a mission and goals outlined in their charters and bylaws. BRGs contribute to an overall statewide business strategy in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in a respectful workplace. Each BRG member brings unique knowledge and perspective, making them an asset to our state business needs, helping Washington move closer to being the employer of choice.