Migraines Effecting Your Work Performance?
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Migraines can be disabling, and they can entitle an employee to take job-protected leave. Can an employee also seek workers’ compensation benefits if he or she cannot work due to their migraines?
If you suffer from migraine headaches at your Georgia workplace, are you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits? We often think of workers’ compensation as a benefit for employees who have sustained an acute injury on the job such as a slip and fall, or a long-term health condition related to the type of work the employee did, such as serious hearing loss resulting from construction over the years. But do migraines also entitle a Georgia workers to receive workers’ compensation benefits? And if so, does an employee suffering from migraines file a workers’ compensation claim in the same manner as if she had sustained an on-the-job injury?
We will tell you more about how the law sees the relationship between migraine headaches and disability benefits, and how you can seek benefits for which you may be eligible.
According to the Mayo Clinic, migraine headaches are often periodic medical issues that can severely impact a person’s ability to perform his or her job. The Mayo Clinic attributes the following to migraines:
Indeed, migraines “can cause significant pain for hours to days and can be so severe that the pain is disabling.”
To understand how migraine headaches may entitle a Georgia employee to workers’ compensation benefits, it is important to understand first how migraine headaches are considered disabling medical conditions that may make a worker eligible for other types of benefits. Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employee is entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a number of different reasons, including a “serious health condition.” While the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has clarified that regular headaches do not qualify as a serious health condition for the purposes of FMLA leave, migraine headaches do classify as a serious health condition for which an employee may be entitled to FMLA leave.
In the case Alexander v. Boeing Company (2014), the court clarifies that employers need to recognize migraine headaches as a reason for FMLA leave and to understand that work-related absences due to migraine headaches are protected. To be clear, migraine headaches are severe enough to be classified as a serious health condition for which an employee can take FMLA leave. Can an employee also receive workers’ compensation benefits if she cannot work due to migraine headaches?
Migraines can be disabling, and they can entitle an employee to take job-protected leave. Can an employee also seek workers’ compensation benefits if she cannot work due to migraines? The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation provides information to employees, workers’ compensation provides benefits to employees who sustain injuries or illnesses “while performing assigned job duties during assigned work hours.” In other words, to be eligible for workers’ compensation, your injury or illness must have resulted from a task you were undertaking while you were working.
This means injuries or illnesses sustained during a meal break, or during your commute to or from work, are not compensation under the workers’ compensation program. How does this affect migraines?
While the fact that FMLA leave considers migraines to be a serious health condition allowing for job-protected leave, in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation, the migraine headaches would need to be tied to a workplace injury or illness. According to the American Migraine Foundation, numerous types of traumatic injury are tied to severe headaches and may be linked to migraines in certain cases. If you did suffer an injury or illness at work, and if you are now experiencing migraines as a direct result of that injury, then you may be entitled to Georgia workers’ compensation benefits.
If you were injured on the job and are now experiencing debilitating migraine headaches as a result, you may be wondering if you are entitled to take FMLA leave and to receive workers’ compensation benefits at the same time. In short, the answer is yes: FMLA leave and workers’ compensation benefits can run concurrently.
According to the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor, “workers’ compensation leave may, in fact, run concurrently with unpaid FMLA leave and may count toward an employee’s FMLA leave entitlement, provided the reason for the absence is due to a qualifying ‘serious health condition.’”
Do you suffer from migraines that are caused by a work-related illness or injury? You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. An experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorney can speak with you today about your case and applying for workers’ compensation benefits. Contact Spillers Law Firm to learn more about how we can assist you.
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