Your employer may realize that firing you after a complaint of wrongdoing would be obvious retaliation. However, if you have a mental or physical impairment that affects how you work, your employer may make things difficult by denying you reasonable accommodations in hopes that you will quit.
The ADA National Network explores employers’ obligations to make workplace changes for employees with disabilities. Understand when your boss may be violating your rights.
Defining reasonable accommodations
The goal of reasonable accommodations is to help employees who meet the Americans with Disabilities Act’s definition of “disability” perform their jobs. This includes maintaining a work environment where you can function.
A physical or mental disability that may qualify for reasonable accommodations is one that significantly bars you from engaging in major life activities. Companies have the right to ask for medical documentation about an employee’s unapparent disability, but only with difficult-to-discern disabilities. Those without an actual disability who regard themselves as having a disability do not qualify for reasonable changes in the workplace.
Providing examples of reasonable accommodations
What do reasonable accommodations look like? Workers with service animals may bring them to work, even if the company does not normally allow employees to bring animals into the office. A person with difficulty processing spoken words may request written feedback rather than verbal comments. A person with a visual impairment may ask for special computer software that magnifies words at the company’s expense. Another example of reasonable accommodation is providing an employee with mobility issues a reserved parking spot close to the building.
If your employer is making your job duties difficult or impossible due to your disability after you have engaged in a protected activity, consider filing a complaint of retaliation with OSHA.