Is there a specific procedure for requesting work accommodations?

As an employee of a New York business, you have certain rights. As an employee with a disability, you also have certain protections. You may have been born with a condition that makes some tasks more difficult for you to complete than able-bodied individuals, or you could have suffered permanent injury from an accident or illness. No matter the case, you still consider yourself able to hold a job and effectively carry out the necessary duties.

Still, as someone with a disability, you may need additional help completing certain tasks or need special equipment to accommodate a wheelchair. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you have the ability to request reasonable accommodation from your employer. In these cases, “reasonable” typically means that granting your request would not unnecessarily hinder work operations as a whole.

Requesting accommodation

Though you may hear the term “reasonable accommodation” often in regard to the ADA, you do not necessarily have to use that phrase when making your request. In fact, you do not have to follow any set protocol or procedure under law when requesting an accommodation from your employer. You may make your request in the following ways:

  • Verbal request in person
  • Written request
  • Email
  • Over the phone
  • Utilizing another form of communication

It may benefit you to ask your employer if any company policies exist for requesting accommodation. Your employer may have a specific form for you to fill out or want you to take other steps to keep record of your request. In fact, even if your employer does not require some type of written record, it may benefit you to document your request in some way.

Information in your request

Because the possibility exists that your employer could deny your request, you may want to make sure that you make it obvious that the needed accommodation directly relates to your disability. For instance, if you utilize a wheelchair, it may not fit under a standard desk. You may want to request a new desk because your current desk is not as accessible as you need. In this case, your request for a new desk would directly relate to the use of your wheelchair, which connects to your disability.

Still, even if you connect your request to your disability, your employer could deny it. If so, you may want to review the situation and determine whether the denial is warranted. In the event that you believe that your employer unjustly denied your request, you may want to gain information about your legal rights and options.

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