PTSD and the Workplace
Employers and supervisors
Some things that supervisor can do to assist the employee with PTSD are:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be a debilitating illness that inhibits the individual's life. One of the many areas that PTSD affects is the work place. There are many individuals with PTSD who are able to work and are functioning at a level where they are able to hold a job; some successfully, and some just barely. The level of success one has at his or her place of employment depends on many factors including the level of impairment, and support outside and inside the work environment.
Although at times the experiencing of symptoms is unavoidable, there are actions and safeguards that can be taken to avoid exacerbating them. Accommodations can be made to protect the individual and provide a safer work environment where the individual feels more comfortable and has the ability to engage in self-care while at work.
From the supervisors to the front line staff, we all need to care for those affected with PTSD. As with physical handicaps, through gaining an understanding and providing accommodations, we can cast a wide net of support for those suffering. We owe it to our veterans returning home, as well as to every trauma survivor, to create a supportive work environment. It starts with education and continues through making the necessary modifications to create a successful experience. It benefits the individual as well as the company when people come together for the betterment of one person. A place of employment is where individuals work together toward a common goal. Supporting the individual with PTSD should be a common goal for everyone. A weak link in a chain can be reinforced to become a valuable asset in strengthening the whole. At times it may be a challenging task, but there is great work to be done.
The following publications can be ordered by telephone or viewed online.
A Guide to Disability Rights Laws
Americans with Disabilities Act: Questions and Answers
The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability
Veterans with Service-connected Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Accommodating Service Members and Veterans with PTSD
Accommodating Employees with Traumatic Brain Injury
Accommodating Employees with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
So You Want to Go Back to School
All the agencies listed below provide technical assistance to help businesses, State and local governments, and individuals with disabilities understand the ADA. Each agency specializes in different ADA topics.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides information about the employment provisions of the ADA.
For ordering publications by mail
For ordering publications online
Email address -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your zipcode and/or city and state so your email will be sent to the appropriate office.
Please call, or click on the website´s link "Contact Us," to get the address for the office that serves your area.
The Job Accommodation Network provides information about accommodating employees with disabilities.
Job Accommodation Network
PO Box 6080 Morgantown, WV 26506-6080
ADA Information Line
The U.S. Department of Justice provides information about the provisions applying to businesses and State and local government agencies, including the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Contact the ADA Information Line to speak to an ADA Specialist who can answer questions and help you understand the ADA´s requirements. All calls are confidential.
24 hours a day to order publications by mail
M-W, F 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Th 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (eastern time) to speak with an ADA Specialist.
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against qualified employees or job applicants on the basis of their disability. It covers all employment practices, including the job application process, hiring, advancement, compensation, training, firing, and all other conditions of employment. Under the ADA, employers cannot use eligibility standards or qualifications that unfairly screen out people with disabilities and cannot make speculative assumptions about a person´s ability to do a job based on myths, fears, or stereotypes about employees with disabilities (such as unfounded concerns that hiring people with disabilities would mean increased insurance costs or excessive absenteeism).
Additionally, employers must make"reasonable accommodations" for employees with disabilities, which means changing the work environment or job duties to eliminate barriers that keep an individual from being able to perform the essential functions of the job. Employers are not, however, required to make accommodations that would result in an "undue hardship," which means accommodations that would result in significant difficulty or expense. Also, employers are not required to provide accommodations unless an employee requests them. So, if you´re a veteran with a hidden disability like PTSD, you can decide whether to reveal the disability and request accommodations. If you don´t need accommodations, you don´t have to disclose the disability. Employers with fifteen or more employees must comply with these provisions.
Typical examples of reasonable accommodations are:
INformation, Resources, and Support for Women with PTSD
Some examples of problems associated with the workplace for those who have PTSD are:
*Lack of concentration
*Difficulty retaining information
*Feelings of fear or anxiety
*Poor interactions with coworkers
*Unreasonable reactions to situations that trigger memories
*Interruptions if employee is still in an abusive relationship, harassing phone calls, etc.
*Trouble staying awake
**Credit for much material/information given to Amy Menna, Ph.D.
The Legal Information and Rights of those with PTSD Regarding Employment
Some helpful tools for a survivor are:
Women with PTSD United