You have the same right to gainful employment as anyone else, despite your disability. Of course, there may be some jobs that you won't be able to do, but if your employer is able to make reasonable accommodations for you, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires it, unless it causes your employer "undue hardship" as defined in the act.
Even though it may be your responsibility to request an accommodation, it is up to your employer to comply with the ADA. This means that any mistakes in providing you a reasonable accommodation and in complying with the act are on your employer, not you.
What are the most common mistakes made by employers?
Most employers make one or more of the following common errors when it comes to ADA accommodation requests:
- You do not have to say any "magic" words in order to get across your request. If your employer fails to understand that you made a request, it's not your fault.
- Your direct supervisor or manager should not be in charge of determining whether the accommodation is necessary or possible. Your employer should funnel all requests to one person who understands the ADA requirements.
- Your employer should respond to your request within a reasonable amount of time.
- Your employer cannot decide to quit evaluating your request and working with you to find the appropriate accommodation, just because it may be challenging.
- Your employer cannot decide to quit providing you with an accommodation because a solution is outside the box. If it is reasonable, your employer must do it, even if he or she has never done it before.
- Your employer may not realize that there may be an intersection between the Family and Medical Leave Act and the ADA in your situation.
Once your employer makes an accommodation, the appropriate person should follow up with you to make sure that it works and allows you to perform your job duties. If it does not, then the process may need to begin again. One big mistake that your employer may make is either denying you a position or terminating you from your position, simply because you require an accommodation.
If your employer fails to correct any of the above mistakes, you may be within your rights to file a complaint. If the company has not adequately resolved the situation, then you may need to take your complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or the courts. Before doing so, it may be beneficial to gain an understanding of your legal options and rights.