Workplace Accommodations Under the Americans With Disabilities Act
Living with a chronic disease, like cancer, can sometimes make it difficult to function in the workplace. But despite struggling daily, many workers are reluctant to speak to their employers about the situation for fear of discrimination. If I tell my boss I am struggling at work, will I be fired? If I request an accommodation, will there be some sort of retaliation?
Luckily, there’s a law in place to protect employees with disabilities. If you are struggling in the workplace, it is useful to know your legal rights before speaking to your employer about a potential accommodation.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA for short) is a federal law that was originally passed in 1990 and then strengthened by amendments in 2008. The law protects individuals with disabilities against discrimination, including in the workplace. If you have a legal disability and work at a company with 15 or more employees (or you work at a state or local government, regardless of the number of employees) your employer is legally obligated to provide "reasonable accommodations" under the ADA.
"Reasonable accommodations" means providing you with the tools and environment necessary to help you perform your job. There are many types of accommodations that may be considered reasonable, ranging from making existing facilities more accessible, acquiring or modifying existing equipment to better suit your needs, or potentially changing your hours or restructuring your job in some useful way.
Asking for workplace accommodations
If you are thinking about asking your employer for workplace accommodation, here are some tips for success.
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