As an employee with a disability, there are several laws that protect your rights to a comfortable and inclusive work environment. One act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, protects disabled workers by giving them the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
Your right to reasonable accommodations simply means that your employer must make modifications both to your workplace and your workload so that you can perform your job. Reasonable accommodations allow all employees equal opportunities in conditions of employment such as promotions, projects and daily duties.
What do reasonable accommodations look like?
Whatever area you require assistance in, your employer should make the changes necessary to meet your needs. This might include:
- Installing ramps and elevators
- Adjusting work schedules for regular medical appointments
- Allowing service animals in the building
- Introducing sign language or closed captioning options
- Having handicap parking spots
- Including Braille or large-print reading materials
- Reorganizing or reassigning job tasks
How can I get reasonable accommodations?
If your workplace isn’t as accessible as it could be, you have the right to request a change. You can make your request either orally or in writing, or even through another individual acting on your behalf. Your boss or supervisor does not necessarily have to make modifications — and often can’t — unless you bring any issues to their attention, so it’s important to do so as soon as possible.
You may also need to provide your employer with medical documentation or a doctor’s note to prove the existence of your disability.
What if my employer refuses to accommodate me?
The law obligates your employer to make the modifications necessary for you to succeed in your workplace. However, sometimes negligent employers don’t follow through with this responsibility.
Just as you have the right to ask for reasonable accommodations, you also have the right to take action against an employer who refuses to make adjustments to help you successfully navigate your work environment. Don’t hesitate to file a lawsuit now if your employer has denied you your basic employment rights.