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Requesting an Accommodation

Who qualifies for a Reasonable Accommodation?

In order to be entitled to an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you must work for an employer with 15 or more employees (or a state or local government), you must be a person with a disability as defined in the ADA, and you must need the accommodation because of your disability.

woman in wheelchair

How do you inform your Employer you want a Reasonable Accommodation?

If you determine that you are entitled to an accommodation, the next step is to let your employer know that you require an accommodation. As such, you will have to inform your employer that you have a disability. It is preferable to notified your employers’ Human Resources department of your need for an accommodation. According to the EEOC, you only have to let your employer know that you need an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a medical condition. You do not have to use the magic words “reasonable accommodation” when communicating with your employer. Instead, you can use “plain English” to make your request and you do not have to mention the ADA. Additionally, requests for reasonable accommodation do not have to be in writing. A verbal request for an accommodation is entitled to same treatment as a written request.

How to Determine What Accommodation[s] you should request.

Once your employer receives your request for an accommodation, the next step is for you and your employer to dialogue about what accommodations may work and which ones might result in an undue hardship for the employer – this dialogue is referred to as the “engaging in the interactive process.” During the interactive process, the parties should be creative to work towards practical solutions that benefit both the employer and the employee. When the disability or need for accommodation is not obvious, an employer may require that the employee provide additional medical information about your disability. Upon request, you should provide medical information about your impairment that is narrowly focused on your job related limitations. Failing to provide requested medical information may result in an employer’s legitimate refusal to accommodate.

Here are some examples of accommodations you may want to consider courtesy of the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website:

  • making existing facilities accessible
  • job restructuring
  • part-time or modified work schedules
  • acquiring or modifying equipment
  • changing tests, training materials, or policies
  • providing qualified readers or interpreters
  • reassignment to a vacant position
  • medical leave
  • work at home

For more accommodation ideas, check out JAN here: