Some people bug their employers for all kinds of accommodations, such as ergonomically-friendly equipment.
You don’t have to accommodate every request that comes across your desk. But there are cases where an employer should bite the bullet and spend the money.
For example, a prison clerk in Illinois typed on her keyboard while using the phone.
She developed neck and shoulder pain from working in that awkward position.
So the clerk asked her employer for an accommodation: a $10 phone headset that would replace the receiver.
Her request was denied.
$10 request becomes $135,000 hit
Eventually the pain became so severe she went out on disability, which ended up costing the state (namely taxpayers):
• $128K in workers’ comp claims and medical bills, and
• $7,300 for temporary disability pay!
While most companies wouldn’t balk at a reasonable accommodation like a phone headset, there’s always the chance of employees blaming aches and pains on work.
Your best bets are:
• documenting all ergonomic complaints and concerns, including name, job title and dates, and
• considering any “reasonable” accommodations that can be made. Chairs, computer stands, foot stools, etc., can go a long way toward alleviating pain.
However: Relocating an office or spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on ergo equipment is generally seen as “unreasonable” in court cases.