Accommodation is not a ‘one-size fits all’ solution. It requires an individualized assessment of your specific needs and the nature of the job functions. Accommodations can include a leave of absence, changes to your work schedule, increased break times, a work from home arrangement, modified duties, or changes to performance standards.
Be aware that accommodation is a two way street. Do not assume or expect that your employer knows of your medical needs. If you expect or need an accommodation, you have a reciprocal duty to cooperate in the accommodation process and provide your employer with adequate information pertaining to your medical restrictions.
If you require an accommodation, make your accommodation needs known to the employer. The first thing you should do is obtain a medical note from your treating health professional outlining your medical restrictions. Provide it to your employer. Your employer is obligated to review and determine, based on the specific requirements of the job and the Company’s operational needs, how to tailor the job to accommodate your medical restrictions.
If you are concerned about sharing your health information with others, ask your employer about who will have access to this information. The employer has an obligation to safeguard your health information. If you are seeking an accommodation, the health information may need to be shared on a needs-to-know basis, in order to implement the necessary accommodation.
Be aware that the employer’s duty to accommodate does not necessarily mean that the employer is required to provide you with your ideal or preferred accommodation, but to provide you with a reasonable accommodation, that enables your to meaningfully participate in the workplace.
If the accommodation entails a reduced work schedule, the employer is generally entitled to pro-rate your wages accordingly. If you require a leave of absence for health reasons, be sure to review the Company’s short term disability or long term disability benefits, if applicable.