No one expects to get in a car accident, be diagnosed with cancer or be the victim of a crime. But it happens, and suddenly you find yourself disabled in some way. You are now in a wheelchair, have chemo-brain or are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What happens to your job? Must you quit? Or must your employer find a way to accommodate you and your health issues?
What your employer must do for you
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide accommodations for employees with disabilities. The key, however, is to ensure your employer knows you need and accommodation and to ask for one. An employer cannot provide an accommodation if they do not know you need one. And that responsibility is on you.
Once, however, you have let your employer know, it is up to them to provide the accommodation, or determine why they cannot.
When must they provide an accommodation?
An employer must provide any accommodations that do not cause them undue hardship and that allow you to complete the essential functions of the job. What do these accommodations look like?
In the instance of a wheelchair, it means ramps, a desk that fits a wheelchair and any other provisions that allow you to complete your job. For chemo-brain it means more time for training and more time to complete work. PTSD requires time for counseling and a quiet and safe work environment.
My employer won’t accommodate me
The ADA requires all employers with more than 15 employees to provide accommodations unless it poses an undue burden. Undue burden could be financial hardship. A experienced employment attorney is skilled in determining whether your employer meets that burden.
To protect your future and your employment, consult an attorney who will provide feedback and determine your best course of action.