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Ways an Employee May Ask for a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

If an individual with disabilities needs reasonable accommodation at their workplace, the individual must request the accommodation from the employer. When an employee makes their request, an employer should determine whether the employee’s medical condition falls within the parameters of disability under the ADA.

Disability is defined by the recent amendments to the ADA as a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.” An employee is only legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation if their condition constitutes a disability. Some important aspects to note regarding an employee’s request:

  • An employee need only let an employer know they need a change at work because of a medical condition.
  • An employee making a reasonable accommodation request does not need to refer to the ADA or the phrase reasonable accommodation.
  • An individual with a disability need not request an accommodation during the job application. The person can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during his or her employment.
  • A family member, health professional or other representative can request a reasonable accommodation on behalf of an individual with a disability.
  • Requests can be made in writing or orally.
  • An employer is allowed to request reasonable documentation that the individual has a disability when the need for accommodation is not readily apparent.
  • An employer can ask questions so that they can make an informed decision, including details about the accommodation being requested.

Reasonable documentation means documentation necessary to establish that a person has an ADA disability and that the disability necessitates a reasonable accommodation. An employer, in response to a request for reasonable accommodation, cannot ask for documentation that is unrelated to determining the existence of a disability and the necessity for an accommodation.

If you have questions regarding ADA compliance, contact an experienced labor and employment law attorney located in Washington D.C.

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