Joanne McCusker shared stories and experiences with us about her work as an occupational health nurse with CalFrac Well Services with our Workplace Fairness lunch group. I loved her opening theme – that she is all about prevention and appropriate protocol. Yes! That goes to Workplace Fairness.
Joanne shared the timeline and the tasks and protocols for medical leaves and the return to work. Here are my takeaways:
- Determine the appropriate route early in the process. We discussed two examples – one is the leave request which stems from an interpersonal problem. The interpersonal problem can be a real barrier to a return to health if it is not addressed through the appropriate channels. Another example is the concurrence of disciplinary issues. There must be two distinct streams to handle discipline and health.
- Invest in relationships with the staff member and the employer to build trust. This means also that the case manager must really be on it, having the conversations with the doctors as required and open honest conversations and regular follow ups with the staff and the manager.
- Doctor’s notes are particularly important for longer term leaves, say after 3 or 4 days, and should address fitness to work. The doctor’s note which addresses functional limitations will enable the caregiver to assess the treatment and help the negotiation with the return to work in practical, meaningful way.
- A good return-to-work meeting will address:
- A clear plan with goals and timelines
- A schedule o f updates for recovery and re-integration
- Confidentiality and a communications plan for co-workers and others
- Potential interpersonal conflicts
- Human Rights issues