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Work How To Request And Negotiate An Accommodation At Work

Step 6. Guidelines For Putting Your Request For An Accommodation In Writing

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Check with your human resources department or your employer's web site to find out if your employer has a form to be used for the purpose of requesting an accommodation.  If there is such a form, complete it.

If your employer doesn't have a form, create your own written request. You may wish to consider including the following items in your written request:

  • Indicate that you are a person with a disability. You do not have to disclose the extent of your health condition beyond the fact that you are "disabled."
  • Indicate that you wish to have your employer provide you with an accommodation.
  • Identify why you need the accommodation. If you make the request without indicating why you need the accommodation it can look less like a disability related request and more like a request for a perk -- especially when the requested accommodation is something cool like working at home.  For example: "Because of the nausea caused by my medication, I have to lie down after each meal for approximately a half hour until the nausea passes. This affects the time I arrive at work in the morning and the time I return from my lunch hour."
  • Indicate your ideas for an accommodation.
  • Indicate how the accommodation could potentially benefit the employer as well as you.
  • Be sure to indicate that you welcome additional accommodation ideas or feedback from your employer.
  • If your employer is aware of your medical condition, or if you have decided that you will disclose your condition to your employer:
  • Ask your specialist for a letter or statement that confirms from a medical point of view the existence of a disability as the word "disability" is defined in the ADA. (See Am I Eligible For A Legally Required Accommodation At Work?"). It's even better if the document can include the doctor's opinion about your need for an accommodation.
  • Talk with your specialist for your health condition about what in your medical record you don't want to be disclosed to your employer. For instance, the letter or other documentation does not have to include the identity of your diagnosis, or if it does, the extent of your current condition. 
  • Ask that your employer respond to your written request within a set reasonable time period. 

For a sample letter that incorporates these points, see Sample Letters To Request An Accommodation.

Take the original of your written request with you to the meeting.

In case you need reminding: be sure to keep a copy or record of your written request. 

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