As more and more soldiers return from overseas — many of them suffering from PTSD — it becomes important for both employers and employees to understand the accommodations available to our nation's veterans.
This article by TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald was published by Westlaw Journal Employment on January 23, 2013. The full article is available as a PDF on our site and at Westlaw Journal Employment.
Accommodations for Returning Veterans Suffering from PTSD: A Guide for Employers
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that occurs after a traumatic event, such as combat exposure, during which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD, the symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories:
- Reliving or re-experiencing the event, including disturbing memories, flashbacks and nightmares.
- Avoiding situations that remind the sufferer of the triggering traumatic event.
- Feeling numb, unable to express feelings or enjoy usual activities.
- Feeling tense, alert, on guard, and easily startled or irritable, also known as hyper-arousal.
PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic triggering event. In some cases, however, they may not appear until months or years later. They also may appear intermittently over many years.
At work, an employee suffering from PTSD may have issues with memory, concentration and organization. He or she may have trouble coping with stress or working effectively with supervisors and co-workers. The employee may also suffer from physical symptoms such as panic attacks or headaches.