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Whether you enjoy your job or not, it is likely important to you, either as a stepping stone or simply to pay your bills. You may be like many in California and across the country who struggle through the work day because of a disabling condition. If your condition is not visible or apparent to others, you may have opted to keep it to yourself, and you have the right to do so.

However, if you believe one or more simple accommodations on the job might make things easier, you may be considering revealing your disability to your boss. The Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws will then require your employer to make any reasonable accommodations that will allow you to perform the basic duties of your job just like everyone else.

What do reasonable accommodations look like?

Once you request an accommodation at work, your employer may ask for further documentation of how your disability may affect your job. This does not mean you have to disclose every detail of your condition, only what will help your boss understand what you need at work. You may wish to have several options to present to your employer and even arrange a meeting to discuss and negotiate the most appropriate and effective methods of accommodating you. Some solutions may be quite simple and inexpensive, such as:

  • Arranging the work space to allow you to access the places and items you need
  • Providing sign language interpreters for meetings, trainings or other gatherings
  • Providing a reader or modified equipment if your condition involves low vision or similar challenges
  • Allowing you to work from home when necessary, adjusting your schedule or modifying your shifts to accommodate your needs
  • Altering the method or process for testing to qualify for promotions
  • Reassigning you to another department that better suits your abilities

Reasonable accommodations are not special treatment. They merely allow you to do the work for which you are qualified. You still have to perform the essential functions of your job. In fact, your employers may be within their rights to deny any requests for accommodations that are too expensive or place an undue burden on your boss or co-workers. However, if you feel the denial of your request violates your rights under the ADA, you would be wise to obtain the advocacy of a skilled employment attorney.