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Are you facing barriers in the workplace due to your disability? You may be entitled to reasonable accommodations that will enable you to enjoy equal employment opportunities. In general, a reasonable accommodation is a modification to the way things are typically done or to the physical work environment that would enable a qualified person with a disability to apply for a job, perform the essential functions of the position, and or to benefit equally from the privileges of employment.

The first step in securing reasonable accommodation is to make a request to your employer. The following are some important tips to assist you in making your request.

Construction employee using a wheelchair taking notes on a clipboard.

Qualified employees with disabilities have a right to request reasonable accommodations.

Do:

  • Make your request to the person who has the ability to authorize the request.
  • Put your request in writing.
  • Make sure to date your request letter.
  • Identify yourself as a person with a disability.
  • Explain the barriers you are facing at work in light of your disability limitations.
  • Attach a letter from your medical provider when the disability and/or the need for accommodation are not obvious.
  • Reference the attached documentation of your limitations when applicable.
  • Propose your ideas for reasonable accommodations and how they would enable you to overcome workplace barriers.
  • Request a response within a reasonable amount of time (usually 1-2 weeks).
  • Keep a copy of your request for your records.
  • Follow up with your employer if your request is not acknowledged within the specified timeframe.
  • Keep in mind that an employer may offer an effective alternative to your proposed accommodation.

Don’t:

  • Disclose your diagnosis if you do not wish to do so.  All you need to do is describe your limitations as they relate to your need for accommodation.
  • List limitations or symptoms that are not related to your need for the accommodation.
  • Overstate your limitations. This applies to both your request and any supporting medical documentation.  In order to claim employment protection under disability rights laws, you must be qualified for the position. You and your provider should use caution not to make it seem as though you are unable to perform the essential functions of your job when describing your disability limitations.
  • List barriers that are not related to your disability e.g. lack of knowledge/skills required to perform the job, insufficient training, personal conflict with superiors/coworkers, etc.
  • Cite accommodations or arrangements that you perceive other coworkers may have in place.
  • Have your medical provider request the accommodations on your behalf.  Your medical provider’s role is simply to verify your disability symptoms.

MOD provides technical assistance around reasonable accommodation requests. Please contact us with questions!

 

 

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