Tip on Requesting an Accommodation to Your Disability

Requesting a reasonable accommodation to your disability is an important step to protecting your rights at workplace. Whether your disability or medical condition has developed over time (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) or resulted from an industrial accident, it’s important to keep several important things in mind to avoid the common mistake that other employees make when requesting an accommodation:

* The law does not expect the employer to read your mind and assume that you need an accommodation to your condition just because they might have learned that you are sick or have certain pain symptoms. Therefore, you should explicitly ask your employer for a “reasonable accommodation.” This is not the time to worry about your medical privacy and confidentiality. You should discuss your pain and the possible solutions that you and your management can work out together to ensure that you are able to continue working at your position or at some other position which is vacant and for which you are qualified.
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* Make sure that you request an accommodation in writing. Send a fax or an e-mail to both your human resources department and your management to make sure that later the employer cannot say that you didn’t request to be accommodated.

* Be nice! Whether you like your managers or not, they are humans. The respond differently to a different attitude from their subordinates. Being nice and respectful will go along way. Threats or demands don’t work. “Accommodate me or I will sue” kind of posture will rarely motivate the employer to go an extra step to help you. Asking rather than demanding and giving an employer reasonable time to find solutions to your medical condition, while understanding that employers have their own challenges that they have to deal with when accommodating an employee, is usually a wise approach.